Category Archives: A Legal Proof for the Existence of God

A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part XI-B): The Garden of Eden as an account of the formation of the human brain

When I first realized that the story of the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve, was an account of the formation and functioning of the human brain, the rest of the Scriptures made a whole lot more sense – everything from the creation and revelation, to the Kingdom of God.

The apparent inconsistencies and contradictions inherent in current Christian theology evaporated, especially the problem of the eschatological notion of the Kingdom of God (Schweitzer 1914).

This article shows how the allegorical explanation of the human brain in the story of the Garden of Eden conforms perfectly with the neuroscientific understanding of the functioning of the human brain outlined in the previous article (Part XI-A).

Genesis 1 as a reductionist account of the origins of the universe and life

Parts II to IX of these articles demonstrated how the interpretations of the creation story, primarily from two Jewish scholars, Nahmanides (1194 – 1270 AD) and Philo Judaeus of Alexandria (who lived at about the time of Jesus), accurately reflected the current scientific understanding of the origin of the universe and life.

In respect of Genesis chapter 1, Parts II to VII adopted the reductionist interpretation advanced by Nahmanides, best exemplified by his description of the creation of man:

The correct simple meaning of the word, ‘let us make,’ is that which you have already been shown, to know (above, verse 1) that God created something from nothing on the first day alone, and afterwards He formed and made [everything] from the fundamental elements.” (Nahmanides 2015, on 1:26).

However, we departed from Nahmanides’ interpretation with regard to what actually existed after the six ‘days’ of creation. In that respect, Part VIII adopted Philo’s explanation that Genesis 2:4-5 should be interpreted to mean that nothing existed in the form we would recognize as life, such as plants, trees, animals or humans, after the six ‘days’ (Philo 2015, XLIV (129 – 130)). The methodology of Genesis 1 precludes it.

Applying the strict methodology of the first chapter of Genesis, we adopted an interpretation of the account of the ‘creation’ of “man” (Genesis 1:26-30) as a physicalist and reductive explanation of the three principal faculties of the human brain.

  • The “image of God” symbolizes the ‘programming’ of primitive human DNA with a neurological moral network.
  • The ‘programming’ of primitive human DNA with a capacity to reason is symbolized by God ‘speaking’ to the male and female He had just created.
  • ‘Programming’ primitive human DNA with instincts is symbolized by what God says to the newly created human beings. “Be fruitful and multiply” represents the instinct to reproduce; “replenish the earth” symbolizes the instinct for survival and security, and the instinct to nurture and protect our offspring in order to perpetuate the species; “subdue the earth and have dominion” symbolizes the human instinct to subdue and control our environment, but regrettably, not excluding others of the species, which translates into an instinct to conquer; God explaining what He had given to the human beings for their survival and benefit, and what He had given to the “beasts of the earth,” symbolizes primitive human DNA being ‘programmed’ with a knowledge of how the physical world functions, and an instinct to pursue that knowledge.

This ‘programming’ of human DNA with instinct is central to the question of good and evil. Since ‘evil’ is reason in the service of primitive human instinct, yet primitive instinct is a necessary requirement for survival, and not in itself ‘evil’, God does not create ‘evil’.

The previous articles demonstrated that these various faculties of the human brain are a product of the physical laws that created and sustain the universe (both the quantum and Classical (Newtonian) laws), but also an “image” of those laws. In that respect, we adopted Philo’s interpretation of the “image of God”:

The mind which exists in each individual has been created after the likeness of that one mind which is in the universe as its primitive model” (Philo 2015, XXIII (69)).

But as we saw in Part VIII, if the human mind, as an ‘image’ of the “mind of the universe,” is conscious, then the “mind of the universe” must also be conscious. That would resolve the scientific dilemma of how the “fundamental laws of quantum physics morph into the Classical (Newtonian) laws” (see Greene 2005,199, and Weinberg 1994,84). The observation necessary to effect the transformation is made by a conscious universe. The words “And God saw” at each crucial stage of the creation of the universe refer to the conscious universe effecting the observation. However, as mentioned in the previous article, that does not mean that God is redundant. The question remains as to how the initial matter in the universe, from which everything else was to be created, was itself transformed from being subject to quantum laws to being governed by the Classical laws that give the universe consciousness. It seems that the “spirit of God” (Genesis 1:2) moving across the waters must symbolize an initial observation, or action, by God, which created and ‘programmed’ the original matter and space (subject to quantum laws) with the laws that created the conscious “mind of the universe.”

However, the evidence suggests that all the faculties of the human brain constitute an ‘image’ of the laws that govern the universe, whereas the “image of God” specifically symbolizes the neurological moral network only.

The previous articles cited the scientific evidence that supports this reductive explanation of the ‘creation ’of primitive DNA, which has the necessary properties to transform into the various life-forms we see all around us, including the primitive DNA that created the human brain with these three distinct faculties. Part A adduced the neurological evidence of those neurological faculties.

The evidence thus supports Philo’s version of Genesis, which argues that nothing existed after the six ‘days’ in the form that we would recognize as life. All that existed was the primitive DNA that was ‘programmed’ to develop into the various life-forms that would inhabit the Earth. Research showing that what geneticists previously thought of as “junk DNA” actually consists of genetic “switches” that activate dormant genes, or ‘program’ spare genes, lends further support for Philo’s interpretation (Zimmer 2014).

Philo described Genesis 2:4-5 as follows:

Does [Moses] not here manifestly set before us incorporeal ideas perceptible only by the intellect, which have been appointed to be as seals of the perfected works, perceptible by the outward senses. For before the earth was green, he says that this same thing, verdure, existed in the nature of things, and before the grass sprang up in the field, there was grass though it was not visible. And we must understand in the case of everything else which is decided on by the external senses, there were elder forms and motions previously existing, according to which the things which were created were fashioned and measured out” (Philo 2015, XLIV (129-130)).

One, or Two, Creation stories?

Previous articles thus adopted the position that Genesis 2 and 3 are a continuation of Genesis 1.

Genesis 1 is an account of the creation of the physical laws that determined how the universe and life would function in order to achieve the intended purpose, while Genesis 2 and 3 are an anthropological account of the development of man from the initial primitive DNA into modern human beings.

In Genesis 1, God’s actions (the words “And God said/saw”) refer to the conscious “mind of the universe” implementing the laws that would govern and sustain the universe and life by way of observation, while references to God taking actions in Genesis 2 and 3 refer to the laws that had been established by the conscious “mind of the universe” beginning to operate in order to give effect to the intended purpose and destiny of the creation.

On that basis, at the end of the six ‘days’ (or seven if we count the ‘resting day’), the Earth existed only in a pre-liquid water form, although all the primitive DNA necessary to create a large variety of life was present but dormant. That is confirmed by the words that follow the statement that grass etc had been created, but was not present – “for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth” (Genesis 2:5).

Then, when the Earth had cooled sufficiently, water appeared: “there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:6).

Liquid water provided the right environment for the dormant DNA to begin to develop. Over time, the DNA that was ‘programmed’ to become human began to form, going through various stages. The symbolism of God breathing life into man to make him a “living soul” suggests that the soul is a function of the physical brain (see below).

The Garden of Eden as the formation of the human brain

In Part VIII, we saw that the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-14) symbolizes the formation of the human brain.

The “trees” that are “made to grow” perfectly correspond to the various neurological faculties. Those that are “pleasant to the sight, and good for food” refer to the network of instincts in the brain. Referring to these trees as being “pleasant” and “good for food” relate to the way these instincts are activated – the prospect of pleasure or the fear of pain.

The “tree of knowledge of good and evil” refers to the neurological moral network.

The “tree of life” refers to the reason network, which is the network that creates the mind and soul. The “man” was not prohibited from eating of this tree because, while the neurological moral network is only subconsciously activated, the mind is automatically structured for survival; the “man” automatically ‘obeys’ the impulses received from it. Only once the neurological moral network is consciously activated does a positive and conscious effort become necessary to structure the reason network in such a way as to ensure the survival of the mind as a conscious ‘living’ soul after physical death.

The river that flows out of Eden “to water the garden” (Genesis 2:10) clearly refers to the nervous system which supplies the brain with the information it needs in order to function. In A River out of Eden, obviously a ridicule of this verse, Richard Dawkins charts a “river of DNA” that eventually resulted in human DNA through a series of mutations (Dawkins 2014). Dawkins’ “river of DNA” is an account of the development of human DNA from the initial primitive DNA to modern man, whereas The Garden of Eden is actually describing the initial primitive DNA after it had formed into human DNA but which, at this point, was still dormant. That is symbolized by God putting the man into the garden the first time (Genesis 2:8).

The second time the man is put into the Garden, he is put there to “to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The first time he was just put there. The reason is that the first time symbolizes human DNA having appeared in the first of what would become the human species, but which was still dormant. These human beings would have had fully formed brains that would be recognizable as human, but would still have acted entirely on their primitive instincts, much as their primate ‘relatives’ would have done.

The second time man is put into the Garden symbolizes the first human being in whom the neurological moral network became subconsciously active. That is symbolized by the verse which immediately follows “man” having been put into the Garden the second time: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

In the original Hebrew, the words translated as “thou mayest freely eat,” and “thou shalt surely die,” are actually “eating thou shalt eat,” and “dying thou shalt die,” respectively. And that is important in respect of the symbolism in Genesis 2 and 3.

The symbolism of God commanding the man relates to the subconscious activation of the neurological moral network in the first human being/s who experienced it, and the effect it had on them. The recent discovery of Naledi man in South Africa may well be the remains of these first human beings with fully functioning neurological moral networks (Barras 2015). As Lee Berger, the head of the team that discovered Naledi man said, the fact that they buried their dead indicates “that naledi individuals recognised their own mortality and the other self that comes with death.” If that is the case, it would support the argument that the activation of the neurological moral network, even subconsciously, has the effect of causing a consciousness of mortality, and thus a consciousness of existing.

The original wording in Genesis 2:16-17 symbolizes that neurological event. Until that moment, human beings with still dormant neurological moral networks would have hunted, gathered and consumed on a day to day basis for survival. They would not have had the capacity or inclination to do otherwise. But once the neurological moral network was subconsciously activated, along with the other peculiarly human instincts (to conquer and seek knowledge), it also caused an enhanced capacity to reason in order to service those instincts. That means that these first human beings would have been tempted to cater to the demands from their instincts, for example, to seek greater security by appropriating to themselves more than they required for day to day survival. Their enhanced capacity for reason would also have been susceptible to the temptation to indulge their primitive instincts in excess, solely for the purpose of enjoying the pleasure of doing so.

However, the neurological moral network would have subconsciously caused them to refrain from doing so because they knew it was wrong. The words “eating thou shalt eat” symbolizes the moral imperative, dictated by the neurological moral network, that they should not appropriate to themselves in excess of what they could consume, especially not to the detriment of other life, or their environment. Neither should they kill other life unless it was absolutely necessary for their survival, and never in excess, or for the purpose of indulging their appetite for pleasure beyond the requirements of survival, or to allay their fear of pain.

The command that the man should not eat of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” or in “dying [he would] die,” symbolizes the effect caused by the subconscious activation of the neurological moral network. These first human beings became aware that certain actions were wrong even though no other human being had declared such actions to be wrong, and there was no authority to impose a consequence for committing such acts. Moreover, with this newly acquired knowledge, they would have noted that many of the actions of the very species from which they had emerged were wrong, yet there were no consequences to them for indulging in such behavior.

The effect of the subconscious activation of the neurological moral network was to compel them to recognize that the consequences would be imposed at some time other than during their lifetime, and the only other time could be after death. That would have caused an awareness of their own mortality, thus also causing a consciousness of being alive.

Genesis 2:18 to 25 records how the newly activated neurological moral network began to direct human behavior, and ultimately, human destiny.

Verses 18-20 imply that the activation of the neurological moral network occurred in one, or a number of individuals, who were isolated from one another, hence the reference to “the man” being alone. But this does not mean that each of them was physically alone. They would have been the offspring of members of the group or tribe from which they emerged. As Philo says, “all the individuals of the race had not yet assumed their distinctive form; since the extreme species are contained in the genus” (Philo 2015, XXIV (76)). This first “man” was thus the first to assume the “distinctive [human] form.”

These first human beings would have recognized that they were different to the species from which they had emerged.

The reason that it was “not good that the man should be alone” is that his instinct was to reproduce, but there wouldn’t have been a female of the species with fully ‘matured’ human DNA to reproduce with. Genesis suggests that this search for a mate activated other elements of his brain. The words “I will make him an help meet for him” symbolizes the activation of the ability to reason at a higher level, compelling this first human to examine the life around him in the hope of finding another living thing like him with whom he could reproduce. However, by examining the various different species around him, this first human activated another latent characteristic of the brain – the language module. Adam started ascribing names to the animals.

But Adam’s search for a mate proved futile: “but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:20). So it seems that this first of the human species must have settled for a mate from one of the more primitive species from which he had emerged, even though she would have been a different ‘species’ in some major respects. As a consequence, his fully ‘programmed’ human DNA must have again become dormant: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof” (Genesis 2:21).

The symbolism of “Adam” going into a deep sleep suggests that the fully formed human DNA he was carrying around probably passed through several generations while remaining dormant. So a number of the pre-human species may well have had this dormant DNA. Then the dormant DNA must have been activated in both a male and female at the same time, and in close physical proximity. And immediately they recognized each other as being different to the species around them, and virtual mirror-images of each other, except one was male and the other female. As Philo may have said, they would have “beheld” each other “as in a mirror” (Philo 2015, XXIV (76)).

However, at this stage, these early humans had not consciously activated the neurological moral network, so there would have been an innocence about them. They would have lived harmoniously with nature, and others like them. They would not have fenced-off portions of the Earth to claim as their own. They would not have sought to quell their insecurities and fears by building walls around themselves. They would not have sought security in subjugating others to their control and power. They did not even need clothes to display their vanity or to prevent lusting after each other’s bodies – they did not lust, because they knew it was wrong: “They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).

They would not have been in need of laws, because they knew the law. They would have known that making their own laws would simply be a ruse to violate the universal law which applied to everything and everybody.

That, suggests Genesis, was the state of the human race before primitive human instincts got the better of some.

The San people of Southern Africa, also known as Bushmen, who are the direct descendants of these first human beings who never consciously activated their neurological moral network, are living testimony to this interpretation of Genesis 2.

Anthropologists and geneticists identify some of these peoples as the ancestors of all human beings, although perhaps the rest of us are the descendants of that part of the species that went astray, and they are the descendants of those who did not. A recent extensive study supports that position (Choi 2012). Other research into the San people’s culture and beliefs provides evidence that they respond automatically to the impulses of the neurological moral network, so they don’t need courts of law and systems of justice (See Brody 2000 and Lewis-Williams 2004 & 2015). Reason is not in the service of their primitive instincts, so their minds, and thus their souls, are automatically structured on the neurological moral network (Lewis-Williams 2010).

The San should be contrasted with that branch of the species that did activate their neurological moral networks. That is addressed in Genesis 3.

Activation of the neurological moral network – ‘original sin’

As we saw in Part IX, the reason it was wrong to acquire “the knowledge of good and evil” is that to awaken the neurological moral network, some action had to be taken which offended against it. According to Genesis, that action related to pleasure – “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise …” (Genesis 3:6). All the emphasized words relate to pleasure, and pleasure relates to instinct (Philo 2015, LVI (160)).

The story of “the woman’s” temptation clearly refers to the interaction between the morality, instinct and reason networks. The serpent represents the instinct for reproduction. The symbolism of the serpent ‘speaking’ relates to the allure of pleasure to be had by indulging the instinct for reproduction. And “the woman” seeing the attractions of the tree symbolizes the application of reason to justify taking actions that she ‘knew’ were wrong.

The prohibition against eating of the tree symbolizes the neurological moral network within the brain that ‘speaks’ to us of the morality of our actions, and acts as a restraint to actions which offend against it.

When the first humans succumbed to the allure of the pleasure to be had by indulging their primitive instinct for reproduction, the neurological moral network was fully activated. This is symbolized by the words “and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). Genesis then tells us that once the neurological moral network had been consciously activated, it gave rise to a sense of guilt. Adam and “the woman” are then said to have done what people do to this day in order to justify their actions; they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the Garden” (Genesis 3:8). They attempted to escape the guilt aroused by their actions by seeking justification in their primitive instincts; in “the trees of the garden.” They ‘reason’ their way to a justification by attempting to convince themselves that they should not feel guilty because what they did was perfectly natural – just like the animals around them.

But the guilt could not be easily assuaged, so reason seeks to divert the blame – Adam blamed “the woman,” and “the woman” blamed the serpent. In ‘excusing’ her behavior by claiming that “the serpent beguiled” her, “the woman” defends her actions by ‘reasoning’ that the attractions of the pleasures she imagined could be had by indulging her primitive instincts were simply a ‘natural’ response to a ‘natural’ desire. But attempting to excuse their actions failed to silence their consciences.

Once they had crossed the moral threshold, no longer did they simply respond to an intuitive restraint to their actions from the neurological moral network. They had acquired an ability to identify specific actions as right or wrong. Yet, they were seduced by the allure of the pleasure to be had by indulging their primitive instincts, and could apply reason to justify doing so.

The ‘punishment’ said to have been inflicted on Adam clearly relates to human beings falling into bondage to their primitive instincts. From then on, human beings would be driven to provide for their survival and security by relentless toil. The instincts for survival and security generate a fear of being unable to provide for themselves, and a fear of anything and anyone perceived to be a threat.

The previous mental tranquility of intuitively refraining from actions because they knew they were wrong, was replaced with an obsessive preoccupation with the pleasures and fears aroused by those instincts.

The expulsion from the Garden of Eden to prevent “man” from eating of the “tree of life” symbolizes the effect of the neurological moral network being consciously activated. No longer is the faculty of reason, and thus the mind, automatically structured as an ‘image’ of the neurological moral network. In order to structure the mind to reflect the structure of the neurological moral network, we have to actively and consciously seek to do so.

Re-connecting to the neurological moral network – seeking the Kingdom of God

Other parts of the Scriptures perfectly support this interpretation, as does the way in which the Scriptures advocate providing for the ‘survival’ of the soul.

Many passages in the Scriptures lend support to the argument that the neurological moral network is the ‘vehicle’ through which human beings come to know God, and can provide for the survival of the mind as a conscious, ‘living’ soul after physical death.

Jesus said that “the Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17: 20 & 21).

Deuteronomy says a similar thing regarding the Law: For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deuteronomy 30: 11 – 14).

The parable of the mustard seed likens the Kingdom of God (or heaven) to a tree, which closely resembles neurological networks: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (see Mat 13: 31, 32; Mark 4: 30; Luke 13: 18).

That verse, and others (Mat 13: 33; Luke 13: 20), portray the Kingdom of God as something that starts out tiny and has to be nurtured in order to grow into a vehicle to survive physical death. But we need to seek it to find it:  “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to thee” (Mat 6: 33; Luke 12: 31). Furthermore, Kingdom of God is something we discover during our lifetimes (Mat 7:13 & 14; 13: 39), and if we ask for it and seek it, we can find it (Mat 7: 7; Luke 11: 9), but we should be aware of the dangers of servicing our primitive human instincts: “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Mat 13:22).

The references to being “born again” at John 3:3-13 relate to the activation of the neurological moral network, especially verses 6 and 8. The description at verse 8 refers to the “voice” of the demands of the morality network. These verses suggest that even if reason is in ‘bondage’ to the demands of human instincts (the instinct networks), it can still be activated (“born again”) in order to ensure that the mind is structured so as to survive physical death (to “enter into the kingdom of God”).

Jesus warns of the consequences of servicing our instincts, even if it is ‘profitable.’ He asks, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mat 16: 26). Proverbs issues the same warning: “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Proverbs 8: 35 & 36).

The Bible closes with the same theme of providing for the survival of soul following physical death: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelations 22: 14). We “do his commandments” when reason is in service of the neurological moral network, which has the effect of structuring the mind to survive physical death as a ‘living’ soul.

However, although servicing the neurological moral network has implications for each person in respect to the soul, if there is a God, then it is also likely to be the mechanism through which God chose to reveal to us His purpose for the universe and humanity. Servicing the neurological moral network is how human beings can collectively realize that purpose. That is the objective of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Mat 6: 10).

Conclusion

The story of the Garden of Eden only makes any sense when it is understood to relate to the formation of the human brain. But more compelling is that such an understanding of the story conforms in every respect to the current neuroscientific understanding of the functioning of the brain.

However, this does present some problems for current Christian theology. Current theology will find it increasingly difficult to find accommodation with science if it insists on holding to current doctrines. Unless it can bring itself to re-asses those doctrines, it will render itself increasingly irrelevant.

Unfortunately, there are many vested interests at stake. But that cannot stand in the way of each person deciding for him or herself what the Scriptures mean. Such ‘rebellion’ against the institutionalization of God was in fact the initial cause for the Scriptures, going back to Abraham. The prophets condemned the rituals of their times (see Isaiah 1:10-15 and Jeremiah 2:8-13). And Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mat 15:9).

Perhaps we should ask ourselves whether we may just be doing the same?

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Joseph BH McMillan     http://josephbhmcmillan.com

This article is based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God by Joseph BH McMillan

Bibliography

Barras, Colin. 2015. “New species of extinct human found in cave may rewrite history.” New Scientist. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730383-700-new-species-extinct-human-found-in-cave-may-rewrite-history/.

Brody, H. 2000. The Other Side of Eden: Hunter-gatherers, farmers and the shaping of the world. London: Faber and Faber.

Choi, Charles Q. 2012. “African Hunter-Gatherers Are Offshoots of Earliest Human Split.” Live Science. September 12. http://www.livescience.com/23378-african-hunter-gatherers-human-origins.html.

Dawkins, Richard. 2014. A River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (SCIENCE MASTERS). Weidenfeld & Nicolson; Reissued 2001 edition .

Greene, Brian. 2005. The fabric of the cosmos. Penguin.

Lewis-Williams, David and Sam Challis. 2011. Deciphering Ancient Minds: The Mystery of San Bushman Rock Art. Thames and Hudson Ltd.

Lewis-Williams, David. 2010. Conceiving God: The Cognitive Origin and Evolution of Religion. Thames & Hudson.

—. 2004. San Spirituality: Roots, Expression, and Social Consequences. AltaMira Press.

Lewis-Williams, JD. 2015. Myth and Meaning: San-Bushman Folklore in Global Context. Left Coast Press.

Nahmanides. 2015. “Ramban on Genesis.” Seferia.org. http://www.sefaria.org/Ramban_on_Genesis.1.26?lang=en&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all.

Philo. 2015. “On the Creation.” EarlyJewishWritings.com. http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book1.html.

Schweitzer, Albert. 1914. The Mystery of the Kingdom of God. New York: prometheus Books (1985).

Weinberg, Steven. 1994. Dreams of a Final Theory. 1. New York: Vintage Books.

Zimmer, Carl. 2014. “The Case for Junk DNA.” National Geographic. September 5. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/05/09/the-case-for-junk-dna/.

 

 

A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part XI-A): Addressing some contemporary issues between science, philosophy and religion

This article addresses some contemporary issues between science, philosophy and religion, and more specifically, issues of right and wrong, or in the more spiced-up version, good and evil; human consciousness; the body/mind and mind/soul debates; the nature of knowledge (epistemology); free will versus determinism; and an initial consideration of the question of God.

But I want to start with a statement from a prominent physicist, which puts the issues in perspective.

In his book The First Three Minutes, Steven Weinberg said that “the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless” (Weinberg, The First Three Minutes 1977, 154). He clarified that remark in Dreams of a Final Theory, by saying that what he really meant is “that the universe itself suggests no point.” However, he went on to insist that human beings could still “invent a point” to their own lives, “including trying to understand the universe” (Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory 1994, 255).

It is a rather curious suggestion that we can find some purpose to life by dedicating our lives to proving that there is no purpose to life, especially since most people have neither the intellectual aptitude to undertake such an endeavor, nor the appetite. But the sentiment that science has already ‘proved’ there is no point to life, and therefore no God, has taken root in the public consciousness. That perception has led to a mentality that the pursuit of pleasure is the highest ‘virtue’, and vanity the greatest ‘happiness’. It has given us the hedonistic ‘culture’ of the ‘modern’ world.

This article will challenge that misconception by addressing those contemporary issues in the debate (or what some more optimistically describe as a dialogue) between science, philosophy and religion. However, it will show that we don’t need to venture into the mystical to explain these issues. The physical (neurological) structure of the brain adequately accounts for them. So that is where I’ll start.

What follows is based on the evidence and arguments that have been advanced in previous articles in the series, and in my latest book, A ‘Final Theory’ of God. However, for those unfamiliar with the articles and book, a short summary is provided in Part XI-B of this article.

The Brain

Scientific evidence increasingly supports the proposition that the brain has three distinct but interrelated neurological faculties – instincts, reason and morality. It is the interaction of these faculties that gives rise to the phenomena that currently defy scientific, philosophical and religious consensus.

The instincts faculty comprises a number of neurological networks that give us the instinct to reproduce; the instinct to nurture and protect our offspring as a means of perpetuating the species and our own genetic lineage; the instincts for survival and security as a means to enhance the prospects of perpetuating the species and our genetic lineage; the instinct to subdue and control our environment (including, regrettably, others of our own species) in order to eliminate or reduce any threats to our survival and security; and the instinct to acquire knowledge of how our environment, and indeed we as human beings, function, so as to more effectively subdue and exercise control over our environment. This latter instinct accounts for the quest for scientific knowledge.

Instincts are activated by the prospect of the pleasure to be had by indulging them, or the fear aroused by perceived threats – that is, they are activated by the prospect of pleasure and the fear of pain, and the experience of pleasure and pain are the ‘by-products’ of the realization of our instincts.

The morality faculty comprises a neurological moral network that acts as a restraint and counterbalance against the instinct networks. It compels us to recognize that certain indulgences of our instincts are wrong, and that other actions, even if apparently contrary to our instincts, are right, or good. The neurological moral network speaks to us of moral imperatives as fundamental obligations. It drives the human quest for justice, and finds expression in the search for a Supreme Law and a Supreme Lawmaker.

The reason faculty comprises a neurological network that is entirely neutral, and thus morally ambivalent. It mediates between the competing demands of the instinct and morality networks, and is free to choose which to serve. When in service to instincts, it is also adept at justifying its choices so as to evade responsibility for the consequences of its actions.

The Evidence

That the brain has a neurological moral network is now widely accepted by neuroscientists. In 2009, Dr Mendez reviewed all the neurological research up to that point, and concluded that “humans have an innate moral sense based in a neuromoral network centered in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and its connections” (Mendez 2009). Subsequent research has reinforced that conclusion (see Yoder and Decety 2014 and Heinrichs, Oser and Lovat 2013).

The research also confirms that actions not moderated by the neurological moral network, and thus based on the instinct networks, are what we call psychopathic. That is because instincts are amoral, so the application of a morally ambivalent capacity to reason in order to service amoral instincts cannot produce moral outcomes, although it can imitate them (Stockley 2011-2012). A 2015 study defined psychopathy as “a personality disorder associated with a constellation of traits including a lack of guilt and empathy, narcissism, superficial charm, dishonesty, reckless risk-taking and impulsive antisocial behaviour” (K. J. Yoder 2015). All these characteristics are indicative of reason in the service of primitive instincts. That is confirmed by Yoder’s study, which concluded that “hemodynamic activity and neural coupling within the salience network are disrupted in psychopathy, and that the effects of psychopathy on moral evaluation are influenced by attentional demands.

Research also shows that utilitarian arguments for ‘morality’ are a consequence of reason in the service of instinct, and thus psychopathic. A 2012 study found that participants who showed “greater endorsement of utilitarian solutions had higher scores on measures of Psychopathy, machiavellianism, and life meaninglessness” (Bartels DM 2011). Another study confirms that reason is a morally ambivalent faculty which can justify behavior that the neurological moral network tells us is wrong. In this particular study, arguments were put forward to justify incestuous behavior between consenting adult siblings. The study demonstrated that a persuasive argument justified the behavior “when increased deliberation time encouraged subjects to reflect” (Paxton, Ungar and Greene 2012).

Research has also concluded that “empathy may not be necessary for judging moral actions as right or wrong” (Will and Klapwijk 2014). That empathy is not a factor, or at least a driving factor, in moral judgment, confirms that the neurological moral network speaks of moral imperatives as fundamental principles, and are not a consequence of ‘reasoning’ about how we may ‘feel’ about certain actions and behavior.

As Mendez notes, “most moral judgments are rapid, involuntary, and intuitive; whereas, deliberate rational reasoning is often post hoc rationalization for judgments which have already occurred” (Mendez 2009).

The studies to date demonstrate that the reason network “mediates” between the demands of the instinct networks and the neurological moral network (see Kelly, et al. 2008 and Menon and Uddin 2010). However, research also shows that the “morality network can be over-ridden by DLPFC-mediated reasoning processes, resulting in utilitarianism, ie, the greatest good for the greatest many” (Mendez 2009). But as already noted, utilitarian ‘judgment’ is based on instinct, and thus psychopathic, rather than moral.

On the content of the neurological moral network, I should refer again to Mendez, who notes that the “neuromoral network works through moral emotions and moral drives, such as the avoidance of harm to others and the need for fairness and punishment of violators” (Mendez 2009). This points to freedom as the basis of the neurological moral network, which makes freedom the fundamental principle of morality and justice. The evidence for that will be adduced in Part XII.

On a final note, Will and Klapwijk make an important observation on how the brain makes the choice between serving morality or instinct. They note that although “neuroscience has increased our understanding of the contributions of neural systems involved in emotion and cognition to judgments of right and wrong, it is time to further investigate how activation in these systems can influence why some people decide to act on a moral judgment and others do not” (Will and Klapwijk 2014).

That is something I shall now consider by addressing those issues between science, philosophy and religion that still defy consensus.

In order to do so, however, we need to establish how these neurological faculties came to be in the brain.

Origin of the neurological faculties of the human brain

The evidence is fairly conclusive that these neurological faculties are the natural, physical consequence on the laws of physics. In science, this is called reductionism.

Weinberg says that physicists “believe that atoms behave the way they do in chemical reactions because the physical principles that govern the electrons and electric forces inside atoms leave no freedom for the atoms to behave in any other way” (Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory 1994, 9-10). And he goes even further by stating that physicists study fundamental particles like quarks and electrons not only because all matter is made up of such particles, but that by studying them they hope to discover “something about the principles that govern everything” (Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory 1994, 61).

Martin Rees makes the same point when he says that “Mathematical laws underpin the fabric of our universe – not just atoms, but galaxies, stars and people” (Rees 2000, 1).

Weinberg insists that although the properties of molecules and DNA create life, they are only able to do so because of the “properties of electrons and atomic nuclei and electric forces” of which molecules and DNA are composed (Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory 1994, 57-58).

What seems to be important, according to the physicists, is that the properties, or laws, that govern sub-atomic particles determine how they can combine with other sub-atomic particles which, in turn, create ‘structures’ dependent on the properties of their constituent sub-atomic particles, yet having their own distinct ‘identities’, so to speak. These combined sub-atomic particles we call atoms, and atoms, although dictated in their ‘behavior’ by their constituent sub-atomic particles, have properties unique to themselves. The uniqueness of certain atoms in turn ‘permits’ them to interact with other atoms to ‘create’ more complex structures such as molecules. But we must constantly keep in mind that although these more complex structures appear to have their very own and very unique properties, they are still the product of the properties of the sub-atomic particles of which they are composed, and the properties of these more complex structures are an extension of the fundamental properties that govern their constituent parts, that is, their sub-atomic particles.

That is what Weinberg means when he says that by studying sub-atomic particles we may be able to discover “something about the principles that govern everything.

Recent evidence supports that position.

  • On 8th August 2011, it was reported that “NASA-funded researchers have evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space”(NASA Researchers: DNA Building Blocks Can Be Made in Space 2011).
  • On October 27, 2011, Science Daily reported the results of research by Professor Sun Kwok and Dr. Yong Zhang of the University of Hong Kong: “Astronomers report in the journal Nature that organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the Universe. The results suggest that complex organic compounds are not the sole domain of life, but can be made naturally by stars … in extremely short timescales of weeks. Not only are stars producing this complex organic matter, they are also ejecting it into the general interstellar space, the region between stars” (Kwok and Zhang 2011).
  • In 2013, Jeremy England of MIT published a theory which proposed that entropy (the second law of thermodynamics) appeared to arrange particles and atoms in such a way that the creation of life is inevitable under certain conditions, and not a question of luck(England 2013). England suggested that this process is the basis of reproduction. If the theory is correct, it will provide evidence that the instinct to reproduce is a product of the fundamental laws of physics which are ‘imprinted’ into the human brain. But it will also provide evidence that all the instinct networks are likewise a consequence of the physical laws that determine how the universe functions, and indeed a neurological image of those fundamental laws.
  • Dr Kelly Smith, a physicist and philosopher, has also suggested that the laws of physics may naturally produce organisms with a capacity for moral judgment(Smith 2015).

Philosophy has its own version of this physical-based explanation of the human brain; it’s called reductive physicalism, although mostly replaced today with supervenience. For a summary of the philosophical account, see (Stoljar 2015).

The incredible abilities of the savants is compelling evidence that the human brain is ‘programmed’ with the raw mathematical data of the fundamental laws that govern the universe (see Part X). In his book Islands of Genius, Treffert notes that savants show that we can “know things we never learned.” Even babies have inbuilt data giving them “specialized innate abilities” (Treffert 2012, 55-57). This ‘knowledge’ cannot come from experience, because savants who are born with the condition mostly exhibit these extraordinary abilities at an early age, long before they could have had the opportunity to ‘learn’ them (Treffert 2012, 12).

Regarding the neurological moral network, the San people of southern Africa are compelling evidence that it was the neurological moral network itself that created the first of what we would recognize as a human brain (see Parts VIII and IX). The recent discovery of Naledi man in South Africa may well be the remains of these first human beings with fully functioning neurological moral networks. As Lee Berger, the head of the team that discovered Naledi man said, the fact that they buried their dead indicates “that naledi individuals recognised their own mortality and the other self that comes with death” (Barras 2015).

The reductionist explanation of the origin of the structure of the human brain is, therefore, supported by compelling evidence. It shows not only that the human organism, including the neurological structure of the human brain, is in every respect a manifestation of the fundamental laws that govern the universe, but also that those laws are ‘programmed’ into the brain in mathematical form as neurological networks. And the fact that one of those networks is moral tells us that there is a moral dimension to the fundamental laws of physics, both the quantum and Classical laws.

Weinberg’s reductionist argument is itself evidence of the moral dimension of the laws of physics. If the human organism is an inevitable consequence of the fundamental laws of physics when matter encounters certain conditions, and that manifestation of those laws is a conscious human being with the capacity for moral judgment, then the laws that govern the universe must likewise possess those properties. In other words, if the human brain is a “self-aware mathematical sub-structure” of the universe, and a miniature replica of the mathematical superstructure of the universe, then the universe itself must necessarily be a conscious, moral structure (reference to ‘self-aware mathematical substructure’ is from Tegmark 2014, 323)

If that is the case, the dilemma of how the “fundamental laws of quantum physics morph into the Classical (Newtonian) laws” would be resolved (Greene 2005, 199 and Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory 1994, 84). The observation necessary to effect the transformation is made by a conscious universe with a moral dimension. But that doesn’t account for how the original matter, subject to quantum laws, tranformed into a universe subject to laws that create consciousness. That is something I shall deal with in the final article.

I shall now consider how the interaction of the three neurological networks, and in particular the competing demands of the moral and instinct networks on the otherwise neutral faculty of reason, relates to those unresolved issues between science, philosophy and religion.

Right and Wrong; Good and Evil

Actions (and thoughts) we call wrong, or evil, are a consequence of reason in the service of human instinct, while actions we recognize as right, or good, are a consequence of reason in service of the neurological moral network.

However, since instincts are necessary for our survival, just as they are in animals, instincts are not in themselves ‘evil’; they only attract reprobation when they become the deliberate objective of our actions. That being so, if there is such a thing as God, then He does not in fact ‘create’ evil. Evil is a consequence of our own decisions.

When the neurological moral network is active, but subconscious, human beings act on its moral impulses without question, and adapt their behavior accordingly. The San people of southern Africa are evidence of that (or at least those who have not yet been ‘civilized’). They are the direct descendants of the ancestors of the whole human race (Choi 2012). They simply ‘know’ what is right and wrong, so they do not indulge their instincts with the primary purpose of maximizing pleasure, nor do they excessively respond to the fears aroused by their instincts. They do not fence-off land to provide for greater security; they do not build castles to protect themselves from their fellow human beings; they do not subdue others of the species as a means of enhancing their security, or to allay the fear of threats to their survival; they do not need courts of law to tell them what is right and wrong, because they know what is right and wrong, and they know that such systems of law would simply be a justification for violating the universal law that applies everywhere and to everyone. War and conflict are alien to them, as is deceit, deception and dishonesty.

However, the neurological moral network was consciously activated when a number of these first humans committed some act that offended against it. That would have happened when they succumbed to the temptations of the pleasures to be had by indulging in actions the neurological moral network told them were wrong, or undertook actions to allay the fears aroused by their instincts which offended against their morality networks.

The evidence shows that the branch of those first human beings who did succumb to the pleasures and fears aroused by their instincts, consciously activated their own neurological moral networks, and those of their descendants. That suggests that offending against the neurological moral network caused a genetic change to the DNA of that branch of the species, and it was not a positive one.

It led to what we call today ‘civilized’ human beings. Activation of the morality network caused these human beings to relentlessly toil to enhance their security and allay fears for their survival. It led to conflict, war, crime, exploitation of resources to excess, even at the expense of the ability of others of the species to have access to those resources for their own survival, and it gave rise to institutions as mechanisms for one person or group of people to impose their authority on others. Institutions also cater to the instinct for security that is fired by the fear of insecurity. Being part of an institution appeals to the ‘herd’ instinct in human beings, because it provides a sense of security and ‘identity’.

Once those first of the species that would become ‘civilized’ human beings had activated their neurological moral networks, the genie was out the bottle. Thereafter, great effort would be required to model behavior on the demands of the neurological moral network. But there have always been those human beings who had stronger conscious impulses from their morality networks, and they have always sought to encourage and persuade others to forsake servicing their instincts, and make the effort to listen to the demands of their morality networks. That gave rise to religion and philosophy, and more importantly, the human quest for justice. But despite the intentions of the originators of these efforts, the ‘movements’ that their teachings inspired were corrupted by those in bondage to their primitive instincts, because they recognized that these ‘movements’ could be exploited to their own advantage as vehicles to subvert others to their authority and control.

There can be no doubt, therefore, that the so-called ‘modern’, or ‘civilized’ world, is a consequence of human beings in bondage to their primitive instincts, not in service to their morality networks. And that is leading us inexorably towards our own destruction.

To see what a world would look like if we were all in service to the demands of our morality networks, we need look no further than the San people. They automatically comply with the demands of their morality networks, and so live in harmony with the universal law, and thus in harmony with each other and their environment.

Human Consciousness

Artificial intelligence (a robot) was first shown to have acquired a degree of self-awareness in 2015. The process by which it was created was a variation of the “wise men” logic puzzle (MacDonald 2015). Essentially, self-awareness is a consequence of one part of an integrated structure having to evaluate competing demands from other parts of the same structure, and make a decision on how to resolve the dilemma. The ‘degree’ of consciousness depends on the extent and type of data that the ‘decision’ part of the structure has to evaluate.

Animals have more limited instincts than human beings, and an ability to reason limited to servicing those instincts. To what extent animals have some neurological network that relates to morality is unclear, but any such network in animals is clearly not to the same level of sophistication as humans. Animal consciousness is limited to the task of servicing primitive instincts. It should be noted, however, that humans share many of the same instincts with animals, notably the instincts to reproduce, and to protect and nurture their young, the instinct for survival, and a limited instinct to provide for their security.

So consciousness in animals is a consequence of the limited choices their limited capacity for reason has to resolve in order to most effectively cater to the demands of their instincts, like the most effective method for securing food and water.

In humans, however, the activation (even subconsciously) of the neurological moral network presents reason with a choice between the conflicting demands from the neurological moral network and instinct networks. This challenge compels reason to recognize that certain actions, thoughts and behavior are wrong, irrespective of whether there is a declared law that prohibits them, or whether there will be a consequence (in this life) for indulging them. The realization that certain actions are wrong, irrespective of the prospect of punishment in this life for a transgression, compels reason to recognize the possibility that the consequence may be visited upon us after death. The prospect of an after-life thus causes a consciousness of our own mortality, and thus a consciousness of our own existence. Berger’s comments on Naledi man burying their dead is evidence of that (Barras 2015).

However, it is also clear that those who have no connection to their neurological moral networks are also conscious. But their consciousness is of a different complexion to consciousness that is based on the morality network. It derives from their primitive instincts, which accounts for the characteristics they exhibit, such as “lack of guilt and empathy, narcissism, superficial charm, dishonesty, reckless risk-taking and impulsive antisocial behaviour” (K. J. Yoder 2015). More importantly, however, the fact that they are wholly or partially disconnected from their morality networks means that they are incapable of recognizing that right and wrong are not concepts of human invention, but universal concepts that exist independently of human existence, just like the laws of physics. That is why such people have difficulty recognizing that there could be a God, except in so far as they see such belief as something to be employed to their own advantage.

The question then is, does consciousness exist independently of the physical structure of the brain, or is it simply a chemical process in the brain? In other words, when the chemical processes in the brain cease, does human consciousness cease as well?

That leads to the mind/body and mind/soul debates.

The Mind/Body Debate

The first point to make here is that when I refer to ‘body,’ I mean the physical brain as the ‘control center’ of the integrated system that is the human organism.

The brain is composed of these three distinct but interrelated faculties. The reason faculty is neutral. Consciousness is a consequence of the reason network being compelled to ‘mediate’ between competing demands either from the instinct networks themselves (as in animals, and those disconnected from their morality networks), or from the instinct and morality networks (in those who have some connection with their neurological moral networks).

These competing demands create a ‘polarity’ in the reason network, which creates an electromagnetic structure that is ‘independent’ of the reason network itself, just as any other electromagnetic field is ‘independent’ of the physical materials that create it. Most of us will recall the experiments done in school when iron filings placed on a piece of paper over a magnet are arranged in the shape of the magnetic field of the magnet. We could then ‘interfere’ with the pattern of that field by introducing an electrical current at one end of the magnet which changed the pattern of the iron filings by concentrating them on the other side of the magnet.

We have known about electromagnetic fields even since James Clerk Maxwell discovered the relationship between magnetic and electric fields in the 1860s (Maxwell 1865). Amongst many other things, electromagnetic fields give us light, both natural and artificial. We know that artificial light is created when a negative current and a positive current are applied to a lightbulb. Until the current is switched on, the light bulb is ‘neutral’. But once the switch is thrown, the bulb fills the room with light. But the bulb itself is not the light, it is simply the device through which the light is created.

The reason network is like the bulb, the neurological networks within the brain are like the negative and positive currents that feed it, and the mind is like the light.

That would mean that the mind is something independent of the reason network in the brain, but structured on it. Consciousness must reside in this independent structure that we call the mind, not in the physical (chemical) processes in the brain itself. But if that were the case, why can we not detect or measure it in some way, for example in fMRI scans.

Well, there are several possibilities. First, there is the ‘mathematical reality’ theory proposed by the physicist Max Tegmark. In his Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH), Tegmark argues that “mathematical structure is our external reality, rather than being merely a description of it. This equivalence between physical and mathematical existence means that if a mathematical structure contains a self-aware substructure, it will perceive itself as existing in a physically real universe, just as you and I do” (Tegmark 2014, 323). Even if Tegmark is wrong about the universe itself being a purely mathematical structure, the concept may be an explanation for the mind. The mind would thus be a “self-aware (mathematical) substructure” that is modelled on the reason network, but independent of it, just like the light and bulb example.

An alternative, but perhaps related explanation, may be found in dark matter. Considering that the matter we know something about constitutes only some 5% of the universe, and dark matter some 27% (CERN n.d.), it may well be that the mind is composed of dark matter that is structured on the reason network. Although we know virtually nothing about dark matter, other than it must be there, CERN notes that “one idea is that it could contain “supersymmetric particles” – hypothesized particles that are partners to those already known in the Standard Model (ie, ordinary matter like electrons).

If some of these theories are proved correct, then it would be entirely plausible that the mind is a model of the structure of the reason network, and composed of partner particles. That would also explain why we cannot physically detect the mind. As CERN notes, theories suggest that particles of dark matter may be so light that they would even be undetectable by the particle detectors of the Large Hadron Collider. The only reason they would know that they had discovered particles of dark matter, says CERN, is that the particles “would carry away energy and momentum, so physicists could infer their existence from the amount of energy and momentum ‘missing’ after a collision. Dark matter candidates arise frequently in theories … such as supersymmetry and extra dimensions. One theory suggests the existence of a ‘Hidden Valley’, a parallel world made of dark matter having very little in common with matter we know.

So it seems most likely that the mind is a structure independent of the brain, but modelled on the reason network, whose structure, in turn, depends on whether it is in service to the instinct networks, or the neurological moral network.

It is the mind, therefore, that makes ‘decisions’, because it is conscious, and the reason network that ‘implements’ the decisions. The neurological phenomenon of insight confirms that, because it functions when reason is ‘muted’ (Stockley 2011-2012), which means that the decision made on the basis of insight must be taken elsewhere than in the reason network.

The Mind/Soul Debate

What this suggests is that if there is such a thing as a soul, it is in fact a description of what happens to the mind after physical death.

The ultimate ‘destiny’ of the mind will depend on whether the reason network on which it is structured is modelled on the neurological moral network, or on the servicing of the instinct networks. There are two alternative possibilities: one is that the mind survives physical death only if its structure is modelled on the neurological moral network, and if not, it dissipates after physical death because its structure is not sufficiently cohesive to exist independently of the brain; the other is that the mind survives, irrespective of whether it is modelled on the neurological moral network or on servicing the instinct networks, but that the ‘destiny’ of each is different.

If structured on serving the instinct networks, the mind may still survive physical death, but will be subject to the frustrations of still having powerful motivations to service those instincts after death, but without any physical body to indulge them.

If structured on the morality network, however, it will have detached itself from the need to satisfy physical appetites, so that after physical death it can integrate itself with the consciousness of the universe, or exist in some other dimension, or beyond. Most religions, whether more or less distinctly, focus on such a ‘detaching’ of the mind from instincts if it is to survive physical death.

The prospect of the mind surviving physical death has been around since human beings first became conscious of their own mortality. As we have already seen, the neurological moral network is the cause of that perception. It compels the mind to recognize that there must be a consequence for actions that are wrong, and if that consequence is not imposed in life, then it can only be imposed after death. And for that to occur, we must survive in some form after physical death.

That perception is what drives the human quest for justice. One philosopher who addresses the justice aspect as an explanation for God and an after-life is Professor Evan Fales of The University of Iowa.

In his essay Despair, Optimism and Rebellion, Fales suggests that Christian soteriology is a consequence of our “deep passion for justice” which requires injustices to be rectified if life is to have objective meaning (Fales 2007). He suggests, but does “not argue,” that there are two reasons for this:

One is that justice is so fundamental to our conception of morality and of human well-being that a human existence in which the demands of justice are irredeemably unsatisfied appears to be a fundamentally defective, poor kind of existence. The other is that we think of justice as an objective demand, a demand that transcends the self-serving interests of partisans. Hence, we are satisfied with nothing less than that the universe be ordered in such a way that the principles of justice are woven into its very fabric.

Fales cites Segal’s Life After Death (Segal 2004) as confirmation that justice was “a primary motivation” of the ante-Nicene Fathers for “the idea of a disembodied post-mortem existence of the soul …” He identifies the human demand for justice as an objective moral (naturalist) human condition, but argues that this does not pre-suppose a supreme being:

If it were true that human beings were designed by a supreme being to have by nature certain ends, then it would be true that, in giving us those ends, God would indirectly have determined the principles of action that properly guide human social behaviour. However, it would remain the case that the basis of morality is to be found in facts about human nature. It is a genetic fallacy of sorts to suppose that objective moral truths cannot be justified except by appeal to a divine will, even if the ultimate cause of the relevant natural facts is such a will.

The problem with this argument is that Fales pre-judges what the “facts about human nature” may tell us about the principles of morality.

The neuroscience shows that the natural human condition is what is ‘programmed’ into the human brain as neurological networks, one of which is a morality network that speaks to us of a Supreme Law and a Supreme Lawmaker. That is what drives the human quest for justice (Yoder and Decety 2014).

However, precisely such ‘disagreements’ as to what these generally agreed natural or neurological conditions mean, can in fact be a basis for reconciliation and accommodation between science, philosophy and religion, as well as inter-religiously. That is because each could agree that the neuroscience confirms that certain fundamental moral principles are ‘programmed’ into the brain as a neurological moral network, and that they should form the basis for any system of justice. Any differences about how the brain came to be ‘programmed’ with such a network would not then constitute a barrier to agreement as to what moral principles should underpin such a system of justice. In other words, whether the principles were ascribed to a God, to natural forces, evolution, or otherwise, agreement as to the core principles and how they should be implemented here on Earth would attract general consensus.

That would at least constitute progress for the human race as a whole towards a more just and equitable world.

Knowledge

The evidence demonstrates that the principles (laws) that created and sustain the universe are ‘programmed’ into the human brain in mathematical form, which creates the instinct, morality and reason networks.

The instinct and morality networks process data from the senses and ‘feed’ it to the reason network in the form of words, images and concepts. The reason network then evaluates the data, formulates judgments as to what it means, then presents recommended responses to the mind for a decision.

The outcome of this process produces what we call ‘knowledge’. However, the pursuit of purely physical (scientific) knowledge is a human instinct, whilst pursuit of an understanding of the moral dimension of the physical laws is a response to the ‘voice’ of the neurological moral network.

‘Knowledge’ is thus both external and internal. External in the sense that the brain processes data from the outside world which is fed to it by the senses, and internal in the sense that the brain can access the mathematical laws that determine how it was created because they are ‘programmed’ into the brain itself. That is the point Einstein made when he said, “I am convinced that we can discover by means of purely mathematical construction the concepts and the laws … which furnish the key to the understanding of natural phenomena. Experience may suggest the appropriate mathematical concepts, but they most certainly cannot be deduced from it [experience] … In a certain sense, therefore, I hold it true that pure thought can grasp reality, as the ancients dreamed” (Einstein 1954, 274).

Free-will versus Determinism

The mind is ‘free’ to choose between servicing the demands of the instinct networks, or the demands of the neurological moral network.

The neurological networks themselves are entirely the product of the fundamental principles of the laws of physics, and as such entirely deterministic. How those networks process data through the senses is likewise deterministic. However, the decisions made by the mind as to how to respond to the data and options presented to it is not deterministic. The mind is free to choose how to respond, and that choice determines whether the decision is moral or not.

The choice is deterministic only to the extent that the reason network has been conditioned and accustomed to respond to such demands by its environmental circumstances, such as education, culture, upbringing, form of government and law, religion, and so on.

But even if the reason network, and thus the mind, has been accustomed to predominantly or wholly service the instinct networks, it still remains free to re-focus its attention to service the morality network. One way that can be done is through meditation (Simon-Thomas 2012). The other is through religious constructs such as repentance, or being ‘born again’ (see Part B). Another phenomenon relates to insight, in which the mind suddenly, and often inexplicably, ‘sees the light’ and rejects the demands of the instinct networks to follow the ‘voice’ of the morality network. The apostle Paul seeing the light on the road to Damascus is such an example, as is Asoka.

However, the best way to ensure that human beings act on the basis of the impulses we receive from the morality network, rather than the demands of the instinct networks, is to teach them how to do so from an early age. That is because research shows that the neurological moral network is activated at an early age, so nurturing it in a child’s early years is fundamental to a child’s moral development – discourage behavior based on instinct, and encourage moral behavior (Winston 2015).

Recognition of a Supreme Law and a Supreme Lawmaker

As we have seen, the neurological moral network compels reason to recognize that there must be a consequence for actions that are wrong, and if that consequence is not imposed in life, then it can only be imposed after death. That causes a recognition that we must ‘survive’ in some form after physical death, at which time ‘perfect justice’ will be dispensed by a Supreme Lawmaker applying the principles of a Supreme Law.

It is this consequence of the interaction between the neurological networks of instinct and morality that points to freedom being the fundamental principle of morality and justice.

The mind can only recognize as objectively right and wrong, or good and evil, that which comes from the neurological moral network. That means that it cannot recognize the authority of other human beings as a source of right and wrong. And it cannot recognize as justice an authority imposed on it by other human beings.

We could thus state the principle of freedom as follows: No one person, group of people, or institution, however constituted, has any authority, natural or otherwise, over any other human being (see Part I).

That being the case, then the following propositions must follow:

  1. Freedom cannot recognize as law the commands and doctrines of other human beings;
  2. Freedom and law can only coexist under the auspices of a Supreme Law and a Supreme Lawmaker as a legitimate basis for justice.

As already mentioned, Part XII will deal with the evidence of the Principle of Freedom in more detail. But for now, we can deduce that these propositions suggest a Supreme Law that is ‘imprinted’ into the human brain as a neurological moral network, and that Law speaks to us of a Supreme Lawmaker.

Insight

As was demonstrated in Part X of this series, there is also a further neurological phenomenon that enables the mind to ‘bypass’ reason, so to speak, and gain direct access to the mathematical principles that make up the instinct and moral networks; that is the phenomenon of insight.

This is the phenomenon behind revelation, prophecy, religion in general, and some of the greatest scientific discoveries. Because this phenomenon is most common when reason is muted, it often occurs unexpectedly and inexplicably, giving the impression that it is of external origin, and thus mystical. However, on a theological level, if there is a God, and He did at times intervene in human affairs, it seems likely that it would be through the vehicle of such a neurological phenomenon, much like the adverts that pop up on computers in order to influence what we purchase. Unfortunately, insight can occur in support of primitive instinct as well, producing the more destructive ‘talents’ of military conquest, and exploitation of other human beings and the resources of the earth, even to our own detriment.

Conclusion

So we can conclude that Weinberg’s evaluation that the universe suggests no point to human existence, or indeed its own existence, is not borne out by the evidence. On the contrary, Weinberg’s reductionist theory of the universe and life means that conscious human beings with a capacity for moral judgment are the highest manifestation of the fundamental laws of physics, and indeed an ‘image’ of those fundamental laws. However, the human quest for justice reveals a moral dimension to those laws, which finds expression in the recognition of a Supreme Lawmaker as the author of the Supreme Law.

Furthermore, as already noted above, if conscious human beings with a capacity for moral judgment are a manifestation and an ‘image’ of the universe, then the universe itself must necessarily be a conscious, moral structure. And its purpose must then be to give expression to the will of a Supreme Lawmaker.

That being the case, then it must follow that human beings are themselves capable of discovering the will of the Supreme Lawmaker, and thus their own moral purpose and destiny on Earth. That was certainly the mission of the Prophets of the Old Testament. As Leon Wood says in his book The Prophets of Israel, the words used for prophets signify people who acquire “insight regarding God’s will” (Wood 1998, 63).

However, these neurological faculties and phenomena that are the motivations for religion and justice, and speak to us of a Supreme Law and a Supreme Lawmaker, are discovered within ourselves, not in formalized religion.

With its rituals, doctrines and hierarchies, formal religion violates the fundamental principles of the neurological moral network. It is a product of reason in service of human instinct, which facilitates the exercise of authority by one person, group of people, or institution, over others. And that violates the principle of freedom that is the fundamental principle of morality and justice. According to Wood, the objective of the prophets was to warn against just such rituals and pomp in seeking to discover and do God’s will (Wood 1998, 76).

In Part B of this article (posted separately), I shall demonstrate how the Scriptures support the arguments set out in this article, and how they tell us that we can only discover our true moral purpose and our true moral destiny within ourselves.

Joseph BH McMillan http://josephbhmcmillan.com

This article is based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God by Joseph BH McMillan.

Bibliography

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Barras, Colin. 2015. “New species of extinct human found in cave may rewrite history.” New Scientist. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730383-700-new-species-extinct-human-found-in-cave-may-rewrite-history/.

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Maxwell, James Clark. 1865. “A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field.” Philosophical Transactions (155): 459-512. doi:10.1098/rstl.1865.0008.

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Rees, Marin. 2000. Just Six Numbers: The deep forces that shape the universe. Phoenix.

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—. 1977. The First Three Minutes. Basic Books.

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Introduction to a Video Presentation of the Science in Genesis Day Two – Expansion: A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part III)

There is a curious but crucial omission in Day Two of Genesis that appears in each of the other Days; only in Day Two are the words “And God saw …” missing.

But as this video explains, that is not a clumsy oversight, it is very deliberate; and it reveals a profound understanding of the scientific origins of the universe.

To understand why, we need to examine two important elements of the story: the methodology employed in Genesis, and the original meaning of the word that is translated “firmament” in the English version[1].

Methodology

Day One started with “the heaven and the earth”, which were described as being “without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The “earth” clearly refers to matter, while “the heavens” refer to space. Matter is perfectly described as being “without form, and void,” and space is accurately described with the words “darkness was upon the face of the deep.” That is a description of what physicists today call a gravitational singularity.

The “heaven and the earth” are then re-described collectively as “the waters, symbolizing the latent life-creating properties of matter and space. And that fits perfectly with what the physicist Martin Rees says about matter and space: “Even if shrunk to a ‘point’, … it is LATENT with particles and forces.[2]

The “waters” are then ‘converted’ into “light when matter and antimatter interacted to create photons of light. But because there was a slight excess of matter over antimatter, some matter was not converted into light. That excess matter was described as “the darkness”, which was separated from the “light”. This excess matter would form the building blocks of the universe. Everything that exists in the universe, or will ever exist, is made up of this initial matter and energy (light).

But it was essential that the amount of matter had to be exactly right and could not subsequently be converted into light. “As Sakharov points out, our very existence depends on an irreversible effect that established an excess of matter over antimatter … Had that not occurred, all the matter would have been annihilated with an equal amount of antimatter, leaving a universe containing no atoms at all.”[3]

It is precisely at that point of Day One that Genesis says there was an intervention: “And God saw …” An observation was made that created the “irreversible effect” that guaranteed that there would be enough matter in the universe to build everything we see around us today.

A Literal Interpretation?

Now some people may claim that this is a rather ‘creative’ interpretation of Day One of Genesis, but it is in fact based on a literal reading of the words in the original Hebrew. And that is confirmed by the great Jewish scholar Nahmanides (1194 – 1270 AD), also known as Ramban. And we should remember that he was commenting on Genesis some 700 years before scientists had any real idea of the origins of the universe.

First, Nahmanides[4] makes clear he is adopting a literal interpretation: –“And now, listen to a correct and clear explanation of the text according to its simple understanding.”

This is what Nahmanides then says about Day One: “He [God] brought out a very fine element from complete nothingness; it has no substance, but it is the energy that can create, that is able to accept a form and to go from the potential to the actual … And the heavens and all that is in them are one material, and the earth and all that is within it is [another] material; and the Holy One, blessed be He, created both of them from nothing … And behold, with this creation, which was like a small [and] fine dot, and without substance, were created all of the creations in the heavens and the earth.

That description perfectly conforms to modern cosmology.

Furthermore, as we saw in the video on Day One, that is the basis of the mathematical equation – how a substance can change into something else while maintaining its intrinsic value, like the most famous equation of all, E = mc2.

It is also the basis of the principle ‘freedom under law.’

So at the end of Day One, Genesis tells us that the universe was composed of light and darkness, which means photons of light and the excess matter that was not converted into light because there were no antiparticles to pair-up with. And we know today that these particles formed the first lighter elements.

Accordingly, at the start of Day Two, the embryonic universe would have contained about 75 percent hydrogen, 23 percent helium, and traces of deuterium and lithium. The Big Bang did not generate enough heat to create the heavier elements needed for life.

Genesis then again re-describes this mix of lighter elements and photons of light as “the waters.”[5]

Firmament

It is into these “waters” that God is said to insert “a firmament,” and it was to “divide the waters from the waters.[6] But the next verse suggests that “the waters” were already in different places: “And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.”[7]

But if “the waters” were already in different places, that must have been a consequence of Day One, and Day One was about quantum physics.

This is what Brian Greene says about the effect of quantum physics on the unfolding universe: “the initial nonuniformity that ultimately resulted in the formation of stars and galaxies came from quantum mechanics.”[8] And as Rees says, that is because the “slightly OVERdense regions [of space], expanding slower than average, were destined to become galaxies and clusters; others, slightly UNDERdense, were destined to become VOIDS.”[9]

This was a result of the interaction of gravity and what physicists call today expansion.

The effects of quantum physics meant that the distribution of matter (the lighter elements) in the early universe was not completely uniform. Some areas of space were more dense with atoms than others, which meant that over time gravity pulled these atoms together into enormous ‘clumps’ of matter. At the same time, the expansion force was pushing the ‘clumps’ apart leaving ‘empty’ space, or what Rees calls “voids.”

Expansion was and still is crucial to maintain the universe in the way we see it now, and for the creation of life. And Genesis recognized that.

The word that is translated “firmament” in Day Two is actually raqiya in the original Hebrew, which means expansion.

So suddenly Genesis reads exactly like the modern day scientific understanding of the forces that created the universe, and especially this crucial expansion force that was the cause of the formation of galaxies, stars, and ultimately life. Without it, the universe would not exist.

But did the reference to expansion in Genesis actually refer to what science calls expansion today?

On the ‘best evidence rule’, the answer is yes. And that is again confirmed by Nahmanides.

This is what he says about Genesis 1: 6:  “He [God] said about the material that existed at the beginning when He created it from nothing, that it should be STRETCHED out like a tent in the midst of the water and separate the waters from the waters.”

And this is how a physicist describes it today: “The tremendous outward swelling [of inflationary expansion] resulted in space being STRETCHED enormously large and extremely smooth …[10]

Also, “Calculations show that [a] nugget of space need only to have been tiny – on the order of 10-26 centimeters across – for the ensuing cosmological expansion … to have STRETCHED it larger than the universe we see today.”[11]

But why no reference to the words “And God saw …”?

Rees describes the universe at this stage as follows: “after half a million years of expansion, the temperature dropped to around 3,000 degrees … As the universe cooled further, it literally entered a dark age … [which] persisted until the first protogalaxies formed and lit it up again.[12]

At this early stage, the universe consisted of giant protogalaxies composed only of the lighter elements, so it was essential that the state of the universe should not yet be made “irreversible,” and as we saw in the previous video, the words “And God saw …” does precisely that.

The protogalaxies had to continue to condense, forming giant stars whose incredible density would create supernovae, because it is this process that creates the heavier elements necessary for life.

Omitting any reference to “And God saw …” shows that Genesis understands the importance of the universe taking its course before being ‘locked-in’ with an observation. The observation comes in Day Three; in fact, there are two observations in Day Three, and for good scientific reasons.

So by the end of Day Two, everything was in place for the next step towards the ultimate purpose behind the universe – the creation of heavier elements, and ultimately human life.

These are the issues addressed in this video.

Previous videos in the series can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7fbq0r39xQXDVs-qOnIeKQ

For the article on which this video is based, click here: http://wp.me/p5izWu-8y

This series of videos is based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God by Joseph BH McMillan.

Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan All Rights Reserved 2015

[1] References are to the King James Version.

[2] Rees, Martin. Just Six Numbers. Phoenix, London 2000, page 145.

[3] Rees, page 155.

[4] http://www.sefaria.org/Ramban_on_Genesis.1.1.3?lang=en&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all

[5] Genesis 1:6.

[6] Genesis 1:6.

[7] Genesis 1:7.

[8] Green, Brian. The Fabric of the Cosmos. Penguin, London 2005, page 305.

[9] Rees, page 119, emphasis is mine.

[10] Greene, page 321, emphasis is mine.

[11] Greene, page 318, emphasis is mine.

[12] Rees, page 119.

Preview of forthcoming video: Part III of A Legal Proof for the Existence of God

Before addressing the science in Day Two of Genesis it is useful to recall the methodology adopted in Day One.

Day One started with “the heaven and the earth”, which were described as being “without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Then “the heaven and the earth” are re-described collectively as “the waters”, signifying their life-giving and life-sustaining properties. The “waters” were then ‘converted’ into “light” when matter and antimatter interacted to create photons of light. But because there was a slight excess of matter over antimatter, some matter was not converted into light. That excess matter was described as “the darkness”, which was separated from the “light”. This excess matter would form the building blocks of the physical universe.

Now some people may claim that this is a rather ‘creative’ interpretation of Day One of Genesis, but it is in fact based on the literal meaning of the words in the original Hebrew. That is confirmed by the great Jewish scholar Nahmanides (1194 – 1270 AD), also known as Ramban.

In his analysis of Genesis, Nahmanides made clear that he was adopting the plain meaning of the words: “And now, listen to a correct and clear explanation of the text according to its simple understanding (peshuto).”

He then goes on to explain Day One like this:

The heavens and all that is in them are one material, and the earth and all that is within it is [another] material; and [God] created both of them from nothing – and the two of them alone were created, and everything was made from them. … He brought out a very fine element from complete nothingness; it has no substance, but it is the energy that can create, that is able to accept a form and to go from the potential to the actual. … And behold, with this creation, which was like a small [and] fine dot, and without substance, were created all of the creations in the heavens and the earth.[1]

As we saw in the second video in this series, which addresses Day One, that is the basis of the mathematical equation – how a substance can converted into something else while maintaining its intrinsic value, like the most famous equation of all, E = mc2.

But this conversion from one state to another also has a moral dimension. It is the basis for which government should strive – freedom under law. Day One started with absolute freedom, then part of that freedom was converted, or subjected, to law. The objective was to bring order to something that was otherwise “without form, and void.”

Day One ended with light and darkness. But when we get to Day Two, we find no mention of “light” and “darkness.” Instead we have a reference to “the waters” again.

That is what the next video will address.

The previous two videos can be seen here:

For the article on which the forthcoming video is based, click here.

These arguments are based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God by Joseph BH McMillan.

[1] Nahmanides Commentary on Genesis 1: 1 (paras 3 and 4): http://www.sefaria.org/Ramban_on_Genesis.1.1.3?lang=en&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all

A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part X): The Power of Insight

This article addresses a crucial element in the case to prove the existence of God, but not the final element.

It considers the phenomena of scientific knowledge, philosophical understanding, and religious revelation, or prophecy, and shows that they are all saying the same thing, only in different ‘tongues’. They all recognize and rely on the power of insight in their greatest achievements.

The previous articles have shown that Genesis chapters 1 to 3 are a scientifically accurate account of the origins and functioning of the universe and life, so far as scientific knowledge extends today.

But the question is, how did the author or authors[1] of Genesis know, over three thousand years ago, what science is only now discovering?

Insight

Ever since we first acquired the capacity to reflect on our own existence, and hence our own mortality, human beings, or at least some human beings, have asked themselves, ‘what are we doing on this vermin-infested piece of rock hurtling through space at high speed?

They were searching for what we now call truth – truth about the origin of the universe, the functioning of the universe, and our place and purpose in the universe.

Of course, the first human beings who acquired this capacity did not know that what they thought of as home was in fact a ‘piece of rock’, never mind that it was ‘hurtling through space at high speed’. But it didn’t take them very long to start working it out.

In 350 BC Aristotle declared “… that the earth is circular in shape, [and] …is a sphere of no great size.”[2]

Although Aristotle dismissed the notion that the Earth was in ‘motion’, clearly there were advocates of such a theory in Aristotle’s time, because Aristotle refers to them. He says, “Let us first decide the question whether the earth moves or is at rest. For, as we said, there are some who make it one of the stars, and others who, setting it at the center, suppose it to be ‘rolled’ and in motion about the pole as axis.”[3]

Aristarchus of Samos (310 – 230 BC), a Greek mathematician and astronomer, was one of those. Aristarchus put the Sun at the center of the universe with the Earth orbiting around it, as well as revolving on its own axis. He accurately calculated the positions and distances of the other planets from the Sun. This was known as the heliocentric model of the universe and, although rejected by the likes of Aristotle, was eventually revived by Copernicus (1473 – 1543). Many years later, “the work of Johannes Kepler, Galileo, and Newton, finally established not only that Copernicus was correct, but led to a theory of planetary motion in the form of Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation.”[4]

Other early observers of nature and the universe were equally as gifted. The Greek mathematician Eratosthenes (276 BC) even measured the circumference of the Earth at 25,000 miles, only some 100 miles over the actual circumference of 24,901 miles. And at about the time Christ was delivering his Sermon on the Mount, the great Jewish philosopher, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, was saying something similar to Aristarchus: “and [the earth’s] motions and revolutions worthy of notice, being arranged in perfect order, both as to the proportions of its numbers, and the harmony of its periods.”[5]

Now, great minds like Aristotle, Aristarchus, and Philo, are not the norm. Even by today’s standards they would be regarded as exceptionally gifted. Which points to the fact that this newly acquired ability to rationalize human existence was not evenly distributed among the species.

And that itself did not escape the notice of these our gifted ancestors.

As Philo noted: “And very beautifully after He [God] had called the whole race ‘man’, did he distinguish between the sexes, saying, that ‘they were created male and female;’ although all the individuals of the race had not yet assumed their distinctive form; since the extreme species are contained in the genus, and are beheld, as in a mirror, by those who are able to discern acutely.”[6]

That was nearly two thousand years before Darwin wrote his Origin of the Species, although Philo made that observation for very different reasons.

What Philo was saying is that human beings can discover, or better uncover, the phenomena that govern the universe and determine our nature as human beings because we are a product of those phenomena; and we uncover those phenomena through the application of another product of those self-same phenomena, Philo’s beholding “as in a mirror” – our ability to somehow access the ‘raw data’ in our own brains.

This ability is described as insight.

Insight in science

So it is not surprising to find one of the greatest scientific minds of modern times proclaiming something remarkably similar to Philo.

Einstein said, “I am convinced that we can discover by means of purely mathematical construction the concepts AND THE LAWS … which furnish the key to the understanding of natural phenomena. Experience may suggest the appropriate mathematical concepts, but they MOST CERTAINLY CANNOT BE DEDUCED from it [experience] … In a certain sense, therefore, I hold it true that PURE THOUGHT can grasp reality, as the ancients dreamed.”[7]

Martin Rees, in Just Six Numbers, says, “‘The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible’ is one of Einstein’s best-known aphorisms, expressing his amazement that the laws of physics, which our MINDS ARE SOMEHOW ATTUNED TO UNDERSTAND, apply not just here on Earth but also in the remotest galaxy.”[8]

Likewise, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eugene Wigner said that “it is not at all natural that laws of Nature exist, MUCH LESS THAT MAN IS ABLE TO DISCOVER THEM.[9]

But should we be surprised that our minds are “attuned to understand the laws of physics”?

Steven Weinberg, another Nobel Prize-winning physicist, suggests not. Commenting on chemical reactions, he says: “we believe that atoms behave the way they do in chemical reactions because the physical PRINCIPLES that govern the electrons and electric forces inside atoms leave NO FREEDOM for the atoms to behave in any other way.[10]

Martin Rees makes the same point when he says that “Mathematical laws underpin the fabric of our universe – not just atoms, but galaxies, stars and people.”[11]

However, scientists also recognize that these fundamental principles, or laws, are accessible to the human brain, and that can only be because they are ‘programmed’ into the brain. Otherwise, how could we know them?

According to Weinberg, the most successful “theoretical physicists” are either like “sages or magicians.”[12]

The sage-physicist reasons in an orderly way about physical problems on the basis of fundamental ideas of the way that nature ought to be.”[13]

Magician-physicists,” on the other hand, says Weinberg, “do not seem to be reasoning at all but … jump over all intermediate steps to a new INSIGHT about nature.”[14]

And Martin Rees says that Einstein’s theory of general relativity was a “conceptual breakthrough” that arose from “Einstein’s DEEP INSIGHT rather than being STIMULATED by any specific experiment or observation.[15]

And Einstein himself said this: “The only really valuable thing is intuition.”[16] But clearly, what Einstein means by “intuition” is “insight”; in the sense set out by Rees and others.

Philosophical insight

Philosophers have a lamentable lack of insight. The exception is Immanuel Kant.

However, Kant’s insight did not relate to the origin and functioning of the universe and life, or even to human behavior. Instead it related to the phenomenon of insight itself.

He says this: “The moral law, although it gives no view, yet gives us a fact absolutely inexplicable from any data of the sensible world, and the whole compass of our theoretical use of reason, a fact which points to a pure world of the understanding, nay, even defines it positively, and enables us to know something of it, namely, a law.”[17]

What Kant was saying is that there is a universal “moral law” which we can somehow access, but which is not based on our experience from assimilating and interpreting our environment through our physical senses. It is called the “Categorical Imperative”. It is essentially insight.

However, he could not identify what it was, or where it came from. He ascribed a more metaphysical aspect to it, even mystical.

Ironically, the solution to Kant’s inability to identify what his “moral law” was, and where it came from, was inadvertently provided by Nietzsche when he mocked Kant for having “discovered a moral faculty in man.”[18]

The origin of Kant’s “moral law” is what I have called in previous articles the neurological moral network. Sir Robert Winston calls it a “morality module”. So it is not some metaphysical or mystical ability, but a physical structure in the human brain. That is the “moral faculty”.

Religious insight – revelation

Leon J Wood, in his book The Prophets of Israel, argues that prophesy is not based on, or derived from, ecstatic experience. The three Hebrew terms used for Prophets in the Old Testament all refer to someone who “sees”, hence a “seer”. As Wood says, “the fundamental thought signified by [the words for Prophets) concerns INSIGHT regarding God’s will.[19]

Wood cites verses such as Isaiah 30: 9 & 10: “this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the LAW of the Lord: Which say to the seers; see not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.”

The Psalmist says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”[20]

Deuteronomy explains why some people can have insight regarding God’s will. It says that the words written in the “book of the law” are not “hidden” from us, nor are they “in heaven”, nor “beyond the sea”; instead, “the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.[21]

And Jesus put it this way: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.[22]

Regarding the Gentiles, the apostle Paul says this: “For the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law … which shows the work of the law written in their hearts, their consciences also bear witness [to the law].”[23]

Where did this “moral faculty” come from?

But how did this information get into the brain?

In order to answer that question we need to look back to the origins of the universe itself.

The one thing most scientists (or at least physicists) now agree upon is that the functioning of the universe is governed by Principles which were set in motion at its very ‘creation’. Those Principles govern everything from the behavior of sub-atomic particles to the DNA which makes up the human organism, and thus the human brain.

From the scientific perspective, Martin Rees says that it is the fundamental principles, or properties, of fundamental particles themselves, “their sizes and masses, how many different kinds there are, and the forces linking them together,” that dictate how everything in the universe functions, from planets and stars to chemical reactions and human beings. And this is all a result of “an expanding universe, WHOSE PROPERTIES WERE IMPRINTED INTO IT AT THE TIME OF THE INITIAL BIG BANG.”[24]

Rees refers to the “chemistry of our everyday world” which emerged from the “time” when these properties were “IMPRINTED” into the universe by “the initial Big Bang.” So the “mathematical laws” which Rees says “underpin the fabric of our universe”, including “people”, were “imprinted” by that event, and at the time of that event.

Weinberg goes even further when he considers the effect particles have on DNA. Although he says that DNA is too complex to be explained with current quantum mechanical equations, he maintains that with a sufficiently sophisticated computer, scientists could explain all the workings of DNA “by solving the equations of quantum mechanics for electrons and the nuclei of a few common elements, whose properties are explained in turn by the standard model. So again we find ourselves at the same point of convergence of our arrows of explanation.”[25]

The Scriptures also bring together these two concepts of “the beginning” and certain Principles that dictate how the universe came about.

Proverbs says, “The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.”[26]

The LORD possessed me [wisdom] in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.”[27]

If we simply substitute the word Principles, or “properties”, or even “mathematical laws”, for the words “wisdom” and “understanding”, we find that Rees and Proverbs are saying essentially the same thing.

Isaiah even links the creation of the universe to numbers: “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by NUMBER.”[28]

Coincidentally, and quite ironically, Martin Rees called his book “Just Six Numbers”. Rees says that six crucial numbers are a “‘recipe’ for [the] universe,” and that if any of them did not have the precise value they do possess, then “there would be no stars and no life.[29]

So scientists and the Prophets agree on the seminal moment which not only set the universe and life in motion, but also determined the “laws”, or Principles, that would dictate how it all works.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.’[30]

The only real difference between scientists and the Prophets is that scientists don’t ‘see’ their principles in relation to the human organism, whereas the Prophets ‘see’ their principles in terms of what they would claim is their true function – the creation of a living organism capable of moral judgment.

We should be careful, however, not to confuse ‘seeing’ with subjective opinions.

Insight Explained

But how is it that a number of individuals are able to “see” certain “laws”, or gain some special “insight” into the functioning of physical laws? What process takes place that enables them to apparently transcend what we understand of the functioning of the human brain? And what exactly do they “see”? And where do they “see” it?

In his excellent book Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired, and Sudden Savant, Darold A. Treffert asks this question: “How much does [the] actual knowledge [of the prodigious savant], or at least the software templates or scaffolding for [the] rules of music, art and mathematics, or even other areas of expertise, come ‘factory installed’ in all of us?[31]

Savants display quite extraordinary abilities. As Treffert notes, some ‘mathematical’ savants “seem to ‘see’ their answers as if projected on to a screen.”[32]

They don’t appear to make mental calculations. Answers to complicated mathematical calculations simply appear to them automatically.

The “human calculator” – Scott Flansburg

But this ability is not unique to savants. Scott Flansburg, for example, known as the human calculator, has similar prodigious mathematical abilities, yet doesn’t seem to display any other savant-like characteristics. In Stan Lee’s Superhumans television program, Scott Flansburg’s abilities were tested at Santiago State University where he demonstrated that he could perform complicated mathematical calculations faster than mathematics students using calculators. Scott said that he simply ‘knew’ the answers to the questions.

Scott was then subjected to a real-time brain scan (an fMRI) while he was doing his calculations. The presenter of the program was also subjected to a brain scan while performing similar calculations so that their respective scans could be compared for differences in brain activity. The neuroscientist conducting the scan, Dr David Hubbard, anticipated that an area known as Brodman’s Area 44 would be enlarged in Scott’s brain, and would be active during his scan. However, once the scans were done, Area 44 was in fact active in the presenter’s brain, but not in Scott’s brain. Instead, an area near the motor cortex was active. This area is behind the right eye, and according to Dr Hubbard, it controls movement.

This part of the brain appears to be ‘programmed’ with the ‘raw data’ required by the brain to make almost instant calculations which enable the human body to perform everyday functions like walking, running, or driving a car.

As Rees notes, the classical laws of physics, Newton’s laws, are apparently ‘hard-wired’ into animals like monkeys which enables them to swing through the trees.[33] Likewise, humans must be ‘hard-wired’ with those laws which enable us to perform our everyday tasks. Even the simplest activity like jumping off a wall must necessarily require the brain to make a multitude on instant calculations taking into account distance, weight of the body, and the effect of gravity, so as to ensure that the body has the tolerances to safely withstand the impact of the jump.

In most of us, however, these calculations, making use of the ‘raw data’ that is ‘hard-wired’ into the brain, is done subconsciously. In people like Scott Flansburg, it seems that the ‘raw data’ is consciously activated when they are presented with complicated calculations.

However, the ‘raw data’ is not something we learn. It is necessary in order for the human organism to function. And it was necessary for the ‘creation’ of the human organism in the first place.

Knowing things we never learned

Treffert recognizes this, and examines how human beings, particularly savants, can “know things we never learned.[34] This ‘knowledge’ cannot come from experience, because savants who are born with the condition mostly exhibit these extraordinary abilities at an early age, long before they could have had the opportunity to ‘learn’ them.[35] Even babies have inbuilt data giving them “specialized innate abilities.[36] That must stand to reason, because every human being is born with powerful instincts that are necessary for our survival. And those instincts can only be the product of the laws that determine how the human organism functions. Our very instincts require the ‘raw data’ of the laws of physics and mathematics in order to perform even the most menial tasks.

Treffert quotes Michael Gazzaniga as saying that “as soon as the brain is built, it starts to express what it knows, what it comes with from the factory.”[37]

Treffert compares the ‘innate’ knowledge of the human brain to software in a computer: “In a similar manner I think we all have considerable brain ‘software’ and indeed specific ‘knowledge’ which was factory installed genetically, but remains dormant and silent unless we access it.”[38]

An important point to note, however, is that savants tend to ‘see’ things in different ways. Some ‘see’ numbers in answer to mathematical calculations, others pictures, others ‘see’ music, and others can recall the fine detail of complex structures, or even entire cities, after only a very brief look at such things. And common to most savants is also a prodigious memory.

We should now recall our journey through Genesis. What we saw there was an account of the ‘construction’ of the human organism from the basic building blocks of the universe, and the laws that determine how those building blocks can be put together. Life was shown to be a manifestation of the fundamental laws of physics, and in being a manifestation of those laws, the human brain is ‘programmed’ not only by those laws, but with those laws. The human brain has an innate ‘knowledge and understanding’ of the material and laws which ‘created’ it.

That is what Einstein found so remarkable when he noted that “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.” Or as Rees says “our MINDS ARE SOMEHOW ATTUNED TO UNDERSTAND” the laws of physics.[39]

So the human brain is not only a manifestation of the laws of physics; the laws of physics are also manifest in the human brain.

The savant demonstrates that the human brain must be ‘programmed’ with all the mathematical ‘raw data’ of the subatomic particles, molecules, and chemical calculations that were responsible for creating it, and are needed to make it function. And integral to those laws are mathematical laws.

The variety of savants, and the different ways they appear to ‘see’ this ‘raw data’, is itself fascinating, and revealing.

Daniel Tammet – “Brainman

A famous savant is Daniel Tammet. In a documentary about him called Brainman,[40] he explained how he ‘sees’ certain things: “I’m seeing things in my head; like little sparks flying off, and it’s not until the very last minute that those sparks tell me what on earth they mean.”

And when Tammet was giving answers to complicated mathematical calculations, he was seen to be drawing shapes with his fingers. When asked what he was doing, he said that he was “seeing the numbers.” But he went on to say, “I’m seeing pictures, shapes and patterns, almost like a square; like the texture of water, drops, ripples almost … like something reflective; it’s something you can look through, almost metallic, like a half-cloud, a bit like a flash.”

According to Treffert, Tammet “sees individual numbers which have a unique color, form and texture.”[41]

Treffert records the varied abilities of many of the savants he has encountered in his work over the years, and common to each is the ability to ‘see’ or ‘know’ things that they have never learned. But also, a common feature is that those things they ‘see’ or ‘know’ all appear to relate in some manner or other to the fundamental laws of mathematics and physics. And some of those with these gifts attribute their gifts to God.[42] And from our analysis so far, that may not be an inaccurate claim.

But it should not surprise us that the human brain is ‘programmed’ with the raw mathematical data that underpins the laws of physics. As we have already seen, if it were not, we could not walk, or see, or jump, or do anything else that requires any kind of calculation of distance or space. We do not first ‘learn’ all the complicated mathematical formulae required to make the calculations necessary to carry out even the most basic of human activities. If we had to do that it is certain that no individual would ever acquire those basic capabilities. What we do ‘learn’ is how to make use of the ‘raw data’ in the brain in conjunction with our physical senses in order to achieve those capabilities, and mostly we do so unconsciously. And the more we practice, the better we get at making those connections.

From what science knows to date about the brain, most of this ‘raw data’ is stored in the right hemisphere of the brain, and that is also where savants show most cerebral activity when they demonstrate their amazing abilities. Savants appear to have direct access to some of this ‘raw data’, whereas the rest of us mostly use it subconsciously, and in conjunction with other parts of the brain, most notably the left hemisphere.

Genetic memory?

Treffert believes that “genetic memory” may be responsible for this ‘raw data’ being carried in the DNA through generations. It is a theory called epigenetics. This theory proposes that environmental circumstances make small chemical changes to our DNA which enables information to be passed through generations. This information acts as a kind of additional layer of DNA without actually altering the fundamental structure of our genetic make-up.

The theory may well prove to apply in certain circumstances, but it seems rather unlikely when it comes to the basic mathematical ‘raw data’ that savants appear to so readily access. If it did, then that would mean that we all had particularly incredible mathematicians and physicists in our distant past. If we have ‘inherited’ any mathematical information, or more especially information regarding the laws of physics, it will have been of a relatively primitive, incomplete, and rather defective variety.

It is far more plausible that human DNA ‘programs’ the human brain with the ‘raw data’ of the laws of physics, mathematics and chemistry, because our DNA ‘knows’ that it is needed in order to make the human organism function. And this ‘knowledge’ would appear itself to be a product, or manifestation, of the fundamental laws of physics. In that respect, we should recall the delayed-choice experiments we considered in Part V of this series. We saw then that a subatomic particle somehow ‘knew’ whether a detector was off or on, and adjusted its state accordingly between wave-like or particle-like respectively. However, to ‘know’ whether it had to adopt a particle-like state, the detector had to be on. In other words, the particle had to be ‘aware’ of some future condition, or environment’, in order to adapt accordingly. As we have seen, the words “And God said …” in Genesis Chapter 1 appear to correspond to the ‘communication’ of the future environment the particles will encounter, and that enables them to adjust accordingly to prepare for that environment.

And by a series of repeated interactions over the billions of years this process is said to have played out, a human organism was ‘created’ which was itself ‘programmed’ with the very laws that ‘created’ it.

This explanation does not rule out epigenetics though. Epigenetics may well apply to the transmission of certain information through generations, but it cannot apply to the transmission of the ‘knowledge’ of the fundamental mathematical principles that underpin the laws of physics. It is far more likely that the laws of physics facilitate epigenetics, than the other way round.

Nevertheless, what the savant shows is that the human brain is ‘programmed’ with certain ‘raw data’ relating to fundamental mathematical principles.

What do they ‘see’?

By comparing the abilities of the savant to ‘see’ such raw data, to the ‘insight’ experienced by certain scientists and the Prophets, it is clear that some scientists, and the Prophets, also ‘see’ certain ‘raw data’. However, the ‘raw data’ such scientists and the Prophets ‘see’ is in a relatively more unified form than the savant. The savant ‘sees’ the bricks, while the “magician” scientists and Prophets ‘see’ the house, and how it was built (at least in part), and in the case of the Prophets, why it was built.

And, like savants, great minds in science also ‘see’ in different ways. Einstein “preferred to think in pictures”. As he said, “I rarely think in words at all“.[43]

Benjamin Franklin, on the other hand, “learned to think in words …”[44]

The explanation given by Srivinasa Ramanujan (1887 – 1920), one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century, for his incredible mathematical abilities is not dissimilar to that of Tammet. Ramanujan was born in Madras, India, and had no formal mathematical training. Yet he produced complicated equations, some of which were already known to Western mathematicians, while others were original. Even today, some of his equations in the “lost notebooks of Ramanujan” remain unsolved.

Ramanujan said that his abilities were attributable to the family goddess called Mahalakshmi. After dreaming of drops of blood representing her male counterpart Narasimha, Ramanujan said that he had visions in which scrolls appeared to him containing complex equations. Clearly, he ‘saw’ these equations with such clarity that he could transcribe them, and also understand what they meant. However, he made a remarkable statement regarding how he understood the equations he would ‘see’. He said that “an equation for me has no meaning, unless it represents a thought of God.”[45]

It appears that Ramanujan, like a savant, was tapping into the mathematical ‘raw data’ in his brain. And that ‘raw data’ was ‘revealed’ to him in a form reminiscent of the Prophets – in dreams and visions, which he attributed to God as being a representation of a “thought of God.”

The human mind as an image of the universal mind

That statement by Ramanujan is not dissimilar to Philo’s explanation of man having been made “in the image of God.” Philo said this: “the resemblance is spoken of with reference to the most important part of the soul, namely, the mind: for the mind which exists in each individual has been created after the likeness of that one mind which is in the universe as its primitive model, being in some sort the God of that body which carries it about and bears its image within it.[46]

The Gospel of Thomas records Jesus saying this: “the kingdom [of God] is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father.”[47]

That is much the same as the Gospel of Luke: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.[48]

These statements attributed to Jesus are essentially the same as what Philo said about the human mind: “that one mind which exists in each individual has been created after the likeness of that one mind which is in the universe.”

As we have seen, according to Genesis the laws that govern the universe are God’s laws which express God’s will. The laws of physics could thus be said to reveal the “one mind which is in the universe.” The savant appears able to ‘see’ certain aspects of that “one mind” with stark clarity. But the way that  Daniel Tammet and Srivinasa Ramanujan, for example, say they ‘see’ what they ‘see’ shows that the ‘raw data’ of the “one mind” manifests itself in many different ways – numbers as colors or shapes, equations on scrolls in visions, dreams, sparks, ripples of water, or drops of blood.

The words used to describe the experiences of the Prophets are not much different to Tammet and Ramanujan.

The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel saw visions,[49] Jeremiah saw words,[50] while Daniel, as well as having dreams and visions of his own, could ‘see’ the meaning in what others ‘saw’ because he had ‘understanding in all dreams and visions’.[51]

Conclusion

Insight is something that appears to happen to many different people in many different ways. But its origin is the same – the mathematical raw data that is imprinted into the human brain.

It has led to important scientific discoveries, and it has given us religion and philosophy.

But what Genesis shows is that some three thousand years ago an instance of insight occurred that transcended anything that has happened since. An instance of insight into the very foundations of the universe and life. And an instance of insight that revealed humanity’s moral origins, moral purpose, and moral destiny.

The Prophet/s of Genesis ‘saw’ the moral dimension of the laws that govern the universe. They ‘saw’ what the Scriptures would come to call The Law, which is the Ten Commandments; what Philo called “the heads and principles of all particular laws.”[52]And the mission of subsequent Prophets “was to urge the people to conform their lives to the Law.”[53]

More importantly, however, they recognized that the laws that govern the universe, and are imprinted into our minds, speak to us of a Supreme Lawmaker.

That is what we will address in the next article.

———————————————————–

This article is based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God, by Joseph BH McMillan.

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

[1] There is still debate about the authorship of Genesis. I make no judgment on the issue.

[2] Aristotle, On The Heavens, Book II, Chapter 14.

[3] Aristotle, On The Heavens, Book II, Chapter 14

[4] Cox and Forshaw, Why does E=mc2? (paperback), page 10.

[5] Philo, On the Creation, XXV (78).

[6] Philo, On the Creation, XXIV (76).

[7] Albert Einstein, 1954, Ideas and Opinions, quoted in Michio Kaku’s Parallel Worlds, page 283 – emphasis mine.

[8] Rees, Just Six Numbers (paperback), pages 11-12 – my emphasis.

[9] Quoted by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. ibid, page 25

[10] Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory (paperback), pages 9-10 – My emphasis

[11] Rees, ibid, page 1.

[12] Weinberg, ibid, page 67.

[13] Weinberg, ibid, page 67.

[14] Weinberg, ibid, page 68 – my emphasis.

[15] Rees, ibid, page 36 – my emphasis

[16] Various internet sources quoting Einstein.

[17] Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, page 60.

[18] Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, page 18.

[19] Wood, The Prophets of Israel (paperback), page 63 – my emphasis.

[20] Psalm 46:10.

[21] Deuteronomy 30:10 – 14.

[22] Luke 17; 21 – my emphasis.

[23] Romans 2: 14 & 15.

[24] Rees, ibid, page 1 – Capitals are my emphasis

[25] Weinberg, ibid, page 32.

[26] Proverbs 3: 19.

[27] Proverbs 8: 22 & 23

[28] Isaiah 40: 26 – my emphasis

[29] Rees, ibid, page 4.

[30] John 1: 1 – 4.

[31] Treffert, Islands of Genius (paperback), page 12.

[32] Treffert, ibid, page 36 – emphasis on ‘see’ is mine.

[33] Rees, ibid, page 37.

[34] Treffert, ibid, page 55.

[35] Treffert, ibid,page 12.

[36] Treffert, ibid, page 57.

[37] Treffert, ibid, page 57 – quoting from The Mind’s Past (2000) by Michael Gazzaniga at page 170.

[38] Treffert, ibid, page 59.

[39] Rees,ibid, pages 10&11.

[40] Treffert, ibid, page 162. Brainman was produced by Focus Productions of London, and airted on the Discovery Channel.

[41] Treffert, ibid, page 163.

[42] Treffert, ibid, pages 35 and 110

[43] Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977), from http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Quotations/Einstein.html.

[44] Walter Isaacson, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 150, No. 4, December 2006.

[45] Chaitin, Gregory (28 July 2007).  Less Proof, More Truth – New Scientist (2614): 49.

[46] Philo, On the Creation, XXIII (69)

[47] Gospel of Thomas verse 3.

[48] Luke 17: 21.

[49] Isaiah 1:1 and Ezekiel 1:1.

[50] Jeremiah 1:1.

[51] Daniel 1:17.

[52] Philo, Decalogue, XXXIII (175)

[53] Wood, ibid, page 75.

A video presentation of A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part II): Science in Genesis – Day One

The account of Day One in Genesis gives two fundamental principles essential for an ordered universe capable of sustaining life.

The first is the basis of mathematics – the equation.

Genesis demonstrates how one substance can be converted into another substance without losing its value. The original matter and space, “the heaven and the earth” (verse 1), are first re-described as “the waters” (verse 2), symbolizing their latent life-giving properties.

Then “the waters” are converted into “light” (verse 3), before then being “divided” from “the darkness” (verse 4). The “darkness” clearly symbolizes the matter that remained after the mass annihilation of particles and antiparticles which filled the early universe with billions of photons of light.

This understanding of the meaning of Genesis is not new.

The Jewish scholar Nahmanides (1194 – 1270) said this in his Commentary on Genesis 1: “The heavens and all that is in them are one material, and the earth and all that is within it is [another] material; and the Holy One, blessed be He, created both of them from nothing – and the two of them alone were created, and everything was made from them. … He brought out a very fine element from complete nothingness; it has no substance, but it is the energy that can create, that is able to accept a form and to go from the potential to the actual[1]

And we find a similar statement from Martin Rees: “We’ve realized ever since Einstein that empty space can have a structure such that it can be warped and distorted. Even if shrunk to a ‘point’, it is LATENT with particles and forces.”[2]

The conversion of one substance into another while retaining its intrinsic value is the basis of E = mc2, and indeed all mathematics. And as Rees says, “Mathematical laws underpin the fabric of the universe – not just atoms, but galaxies, stars and people.[3]

Regarding the second principle, the matter and fields that were compressed into a tiny point before the Big Bang were governed by quantum laws of physics. That means that the uncertainty principle applied which leaves the particles and fields free to choose between an infinite number of probabilities. That makes freedom the governing principle. Genesis tells us that law was then imposed on these otherwise free particles and fields which compelled them to adopt those initial structures that were a prerequisite to establishing a universe that could sustain life.

Science does not deviate from the basic account in Genesis, save only in respect of how it happened.

That establishes the basis of the principle of freedom under law, the principle which is the objective of justice and government.

This video presentation addresses these issues:

For the article on which the video is based, click here.

[1] Nahmanides Commentary on Genesis 1: 1: http://www.sefaria.org/Ramban_on_Genesis.1.1.3?lang=en&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all

[2] Rees, Martin, Just Six Numbers (paperback), page 145.

[3] Rees, ibid, page 1.

A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part IX): Science in Genesis Chapter 3 – Adam and Eve

The first question to address is whether the story of Adam and Eve refers to two particular individuals, or is a generic reference to the first of the species to acquire specifically human characteristics. And Genesis tells us that it is both.

That is found at Genesis 5, verses 1 and 2:

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him;

Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day they were created.”

The references to “the generations of Adam”, and “the day God created man”, clearly refer to a period of time, and a generic description of the first human beings.

The wording is the same as Genesis 2, verse 4 – “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” As we saw in respect of The Garden of Eden, this verse clearly refers to a period of time as well. Conflating the words “generations” and “day” can have no other reasonable explanation.

We then see in verse 2 that the “male and the female” are collectively called “Adam”. There is no mention of Eve.

Adam clearly thus refers to the first human beings endowed with human DNA. However, as we saw in the article on the Garden of Eden, there would have been a number of human beings with this DNA who would have joined up to create new human life in their own genetic image.

So at this stage of the development of the human race there would likely have been several small groups of people with human DNA who were the ancestors of all other human beings.

The San people of southern Africa are the descendants of that branch of the human species that did not succumb to the temptation of eating of the ‘forbidden fruit’.

The story of Adam and Eve relates to that branch of the early species that did take of the fruit, and produced so-called ‘civilized’ human beings.

Temptation

Chapter 3 records what happened when the primitive instinct to reproduce was aroused by the allure of the pleasure to be had by indulging in the act of reproduction, not for the main purpose of reproduction, but with the principal aim of deriving physical pleasure from the act.

It is appropriate here to quote again from the great Jewish philosopher, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria: “For other animals pursue pleasure only in taste and in the acts of generation; but man aims at it by means of his other senses also, devoting himself to whatever sights or sounds can impart pleasure to his eyes or ears.[1]

Chapter 3 deals with the transformation of the former to the latter.

We should set out the whole account of this transformation:

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.[2]

Before considering these verses, it is important to remember that we are looking at the symbolism of what is being said. But there can be little doubt that the symbolism relates to real events.

These verses symbolize the conflict between primitive human instincts and the promptings of the neurological moral network as it arose in the first of the species. A picture is painted of a woman wrestling with the allure of pleasure by indulging in an act which her conscience is telling her is wrong. She is fantasizing; but about what?

Well, it is impossible to ignore the phallic imagery of the speaking serpent, so the most plausible explanation is that she is fantasizing about sex.

We should also remember that it was very likely that these early humans would have been living with, or at least in close proximity to, the species from which they had emerged, and even other species of primates that were genetically very similar to them. And these other species would also have been “naked.” And more tellingly, these other primates would have indulged in sex quite openly and casually, as they do today.

But at this stage, a number of characteristics had developed in the early human species which distinguished them from other primates. First, they had developed a higher level of communication, as well as a more advanced capacity to reason. But they also had a partially activated neurological moral network which acted as a restraint on their actions by arousing a sense of conscience.

However, the woman would have enjoyed the pleasure of intimacy with Adam. And this would have acted as a spark to ignite her imagination to consider ways to enhance the pleasure derived from sexual intimacy. And her capacity to reason would have been eager to tender suggestions and justifications.

There would have been plenty of examples in the behavior of the more primitive primates living in close proximity. Thus the imagery of the account of the woman being tempted by the serpent is not hard to translate into a real picture. Although constrained by her moral impulses to refrain from sexual encounters other than with Adam, by observing the casual sexual interplay of primates around her, the woman began to fantasize about what it would be like to do the same. She started to imagine what ‘forbidden pleasures’ could be had if she just suppressed the feelings of guilt aroused by such fantasies.

No doubt she would have questioned why it would be wrong for her to do what the other primates were doing. There was no consequence to them for doing it, so what could happen to her? Her reasoning appears to have gone into overdrive to justify doing what she knew would be wrong by suppressing the restraint and guilt demanded by her newly acquired moral aptitude.

Succumbing to Temptation activates the Neurological Moral Network

In the end, the woman succumbed to the allure of the pleasures to be had by indulging her sexual fantasies – “she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.” And by employing the newly acquired ability to combine reason with an ability to communicate, the woman persuaded “her husband” to do the same.

What they did, it can only be concluded, is indulge in sexual encounters with members of the other species around them, and no doubt with other newly formed humans if and when they encountered them.

Now many reading all this about a woman fantasizing about imitating the sexual practices of apes, and engaging in sexual encounters with them, will no doubt ridicule the whole interpretation. So what evidence is there that human beings could act in such a manner, either back then, or now?

Well plenty, actually.

Let’s start with the fantasy part, and humans looking to apes for ‘moral inspiration’. And for that we need look no further than a professor of philosophy, no less – AC Grayling.

In his book The God Argument – The Case against religion and for Humanism, Grayling claims that the arts (books, music, films and so on) demonstrate the importance of intimate physical relationships to human beings, but laments that the traditional moral consensus that sex should be limited to one other person in a bonding for life somehow inhibits what he calls human “flourishing.”[3]

So Grayling cites the behavior of bonobo chimpanzees as a model for a better approach. Being the primates most like humans, Grayling says that the bonobo’s equivalent of shaking hands is to engage in sex casually and often.[4]

Grayling thus claims that “pleasure is good – and sexual pleasure is very good.”[5]

According to him, this all means that sex only becomes a problem when it is “rationed and starved.”[6] So his solution is sexual experimentation. And with a lot of practice, Grayling claims that humans can better learn to ‘love’ and be ‘loved’.[7]

But if anyone inhibits your sexual self-indulgence, such as a wife or children, then they need to be made to understand that some human beings have certain “needs and interests,” which the victims simply have to “accept and tolerate … and be open-minded” about.[8]

And it is belief in God (religion) that Grayling claims inhibits this kind of sexual indulgence in the pursuit of human “flourishing”.

Grayling’s ‘philosophy’ is really based on a simple premise – why shouldn’t we behave like animals?

So we see that what is said to have aroused the first woman, and the ‘reasoning’ employed to justify indulging that arousal, is something that has stayed with many of the species up to this very day. And Grayling is not unique in that regard; it is not an uncommon phenomenon.

Marketing companies exploit the human obsession with sex to sell everything from ice-cream to motor cars.

But is there any evidence that the first humans did interbreed with other primates? Again, the answer is yes.

In an article in the online journal Public Library of Science (PLoS), Dr Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Museum, and Professor Wil Roebroeks of Lieden University, say that “current genetic data suggest that complex processes of interbreeding and assimilation may have been responsible for the disappearance of the specific Neandertal morphology from the fossil record.”

In their conclusion, they say that “The momentous cultural changes that followed the arrival of AMH (anatomically modern humans) in Western Eurasia were not uniquely due to the residents’ cognitive or technological inferiority causing rapid and total replacement. The Neandertal demise appears to have resulted from a complex and protracted process including multiple dynamic factors such as low population density, interbreeding with some cultural contact, possible male hybrid sterility and contraction in geographic distribution followed by genetic swamping and assimilation by the increasing numbers of modern immigrants.”

And Villa and Roebroeks cite evidence of this interbreeding in modern human beings: “In 2010 a draft sequence of the Neandertal nuclear DNA provided clear evidence of interbreeding between Neandertals and modern humans, estimating that Neandertal inheritance makes up 1–4% of the genomes of people outside of Africa. A revised estimate based on a high-coverage sequence of a Neandertal from the Altai Mountains now suggests 1.5–2.1%.[9]

However, clearly Genesis is not referring to this interbreeding between humans and Neandertals. The story of Adam and Eve relates to a much earlier time when humans were only just emerging as the species. The example of the interbreeding with Neandertals was simply a continuation of something that had started much earlier.

The real significance of the story, however, lies in its explanation of how the neurological moral network in the human brain was initially fully activated, and the central part played in that process by the human capacity to reason. The story demonstrates that reason can be applied to justify anything.

Why was acquiring the “knowledge of good and evil” wrong?

But if the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” symbolizes the neurological moral network, why, some will ask, would it be wrong to acquire “the knowledge of good and evil’?

The answer is that to awaken the neurological moral network the first human beings had to take some action which offended it. That produced a sense of guilt in the form of a conscience. And as we have seen, according to Genesis, the action that initially activated the neurological moral network  related to pleasure – “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was PLEASANT to the eyes, and a tree to be DESIRED to make one wise …”[10]

As Philo says, “anyone who follows a reasonable train of conjecture, will say with great propriety, that the … serpent is the symbol of pleasure.”  And he goes on to say that the “serpent is said to have uttered a human voice, because pleasure employs innumerable champions and defenders who take care to advocate its interests, and who dare to assert that the power over everything, both small and great, does of right belong to it without any exception whatever.”[11]

So the story of Eve’s (“the woman’s[12]) temptation clearly refers to the interaction between morality, instinct and reason.

The serpent represents the instinct for reproduction. The symbolism of the serpent ‘speaking’ relates to the allure of pleasure to be had by indulging the instinct for reproduction. And Eve ‘seeing’ “that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, …” symbolizes the application of reason to justify taking actions that we ‘know’ are wrong.

The prohibition against eating of the tree represents morality. It is the neurological moral network within the brain that ‘speaks’ to us of the morality of certain actions, and acts as a restraint to actions which offend against it, if we listen. However, until this moment, the neurological moral network was subconscious.

Consequences of activating the neurological moral network

Once the first humans succumbed to the allure of the pleasure to be had by indulging their primitive instinct for reproduction, the neurological moral network was fully activated. This is symbolized by the words “and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.”[13] They realized then that they were different to the other species around them, even those most like them, and that it was not appropriate to simply imitate animal behavior.

However, Genesis tells us that once the neurological moral network had been offended, it gave rise to a sense of guilt, and Adam and Eve are said to do what people do to this day in order to justify their actions; they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the Garden.” They attempted to escape the guilt aroused by their actions by seeking justification in their primitive instincts; in “the trees of the garden.”

As we have already seen, the trees in the garden symbolize human instincts, amongst which is the instinct to reproduce. So when they are plagued by a sense of guilt, they seek to justify their actions by reference to their instincts. They ‘reason’ their way to a justification by attempting to convince themselves that they should not feel guilty because what they did was perfectly natural – just like the animals around them.

But clearly the guilt could not be easily silenced. And so, like today, they started the blame-game – Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. In ‘excusing’ her behavior by claiming that “the serpent beguiled” her, the woman is essentially seeking to defend her actions by saying that the attractions of the pleasures she imagined could be had by indulging her primitive instincts were so strong as to be ‘irresistible’. So she should not be to blame. It was simply a ‘natural’ response to a ‘natural’ desire – much like AC Grayling.

But, of course, it was all to no avail.

Once they had crossed the moral threshold, no longer did they simply respond to an intuitive restraint to their actions from the neurological moral network. They had acquired an ability to identify specific actions as right or wrong. Yet, they were seduced by the allure of the pleasure to be had by indulging their primitive instincts, as humans are today. So they mobilized their enhanced capacity to reason to seek justification for doing that which their neurological moral network told them was wrong.

The Legacy

The ‘punishment’ that God is said to inflict on them clearly symbolizes the conflict that has plagued the descendants of Adam and Eve from that moment on – a conflict between servicing their primitive instincts, or servicing the promptings of their neurological moral network.

We can see that the ‘punishment’ puts “enmity” between the attractions of pleasure to be had by indulging primitive instincts, like those of reproduction, and the consequences of doing so.

The ‘punishment’ said to have been inflicted on Adam clearly relates to human beings falling into bondage to their primitive instincts. From that moment on, human beings would be driven to provide for their survival and security by relentless toil. The instincts for survival and security generate a fear of being unable to provide for themselves, and a fear of anything and anyone perceived to be a threat.

The words “in sorrow shalt thou eat of [the ground] all the days of thy life[14] clearly refers to the instinct for security; “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground[15] clearly refers to the fear of death, and the survival instinct.

But there was a far more unpleasant consequence of this awakening of the “morality module”. The previous mental tranquility of intuitively refraining from actions because they knew they were wrong, and responding to the promptings of their instincts “only in taste and in the acts of generation”, had been replaced with an obsessive preoccupation with the pleasures and fears aroused by those instincts. No longer were these first humans content to live day by day without the constant fear of want and death – now they were consumed by a passion to indulge the demands of their instincts so as to alleviate their fears, or feed their appetite for pleasure.

As Philo said, they had condemned themselves to “an existence more miserable than death.”

From this point on, Genesis, and the Bible as a whole, records the conflict between human instinct and morality as it plays out in historical context. And how human beings employ reason to justify doing wrong.

Cain and Abel

So we see in the account of Cain and Abel that Abel’s endeavors were proving successful whereas Cain’s were modest. This fired insecurity in Cain, and wounded his vanity. Abel was seen as a threat who had to be neutralized. The symbolism of God speaking to Cain to ask why he is angry, relates to Cain’s neurological moral network intervening in an attempt to quell the anger. God says to Cain, “If thou does’t well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou does’t not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”[16]

The Hebrew for the last sentence actually says this: “And subject unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”

The message is quite clear – Cain has a choice about how to act. One choice is acceptable, or moral, the other is wrong, and will have consequences. The “desire” to satisfy his instincts is under his control – “subject unto thee.” And morality must rule over the desires of the instincts – “thou shalt rule over him.”

But, like Eve, Cain could not or would not listen to the moral ‘voice’ within him, and planned to slay Abel. We see that Cain “talked with Abel” before he implemented his plan. This indicates that Cain was using ‘reason’, and the ability to communicate, in service of his primitive instincts, and not in service of the “moral law.” And even once he had killed Abel, his ability to reason seeks ways to deny responsibility, saying he does not know where Abel is. Furthermore, he also asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” – an instance of reason seeking to excuse accountability for the wellbeing of our fellow human beings.

Cain’s reaction to the guilt that arises from his actions is first to lie, then to ‘justify’ the lie by ‘reasoning’ that he is not responsible.

We see in Cain a regrettable model for those who believe that satisfying their own “needs and interests” at any cost is their primary ‘duty’ in life, and they ‘reason’ their way to justifying whatever actions they take in pursuit of their ‘goals’. And their goals are always the same – indulging their appetite for pleasure, and relieving the fear of their insecurities; in short, being in the service of their primitive instincts, and silencing the voice of morality whenever it ‘speaks’.

However, Cain realizes that he cannot completely silence the voice of morality, and finally acknowledges that “Mine iniquity is greater than can be forgiven.”[17]

And the only way he can live with the guilt of his conscience is to deny God – “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.”[18]

That, it seems, is the “mark” which God is said to have put on Cain; the propensity to apply ‘reason’ to justify the servicing of our primitive instincts in defiance of the “moral law” which created us, and which is within us. And humans accomplish that self-deception through the denial of a Supreme Law, and thus a denial of God.

In that way, those who seek to impose their own authority and will on others are free to ‘make’ such ‘laws’ as best serve their own interests, and to implement such measures as are necessary to compel others to submit to those ‘laws’.

That is the meaning of Cain building a city which he names after his son Enoch.[19] God is replaced with the pursuit of power and wealth to feed vanity and allay insecurity.

However, at the end of Chapter 4, the story reverts again to Adam and Eve. Eve conceives and gives birth to Seth, and he has a son called Enos. And it is this strand of the genealogy of Adam and Eve that came to the realization that God is indispensable to human existence. That is because, after the birth of Enos, “then men began to call on the name of the Lord.” [20]

And it is this strand of genealogy that leads to Abraham and on to Moses, and the Ten Commandments. They were the ‘keepers’ of the moral law that reveals God’s Will.

It was through Abraham that “all families of the earth shall be blessed.”[21]

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”[22]

The crucial words in that last verse are “because thou hast obeyed my voice.” It was this strand of the human species that stayed most obedient to the principles of the “moral law”; and, it seems, most easily able to decipher it over the clatter of demands from our primitive instincts.

Through Abraham’s descendents God’s moral law would be revealed not just to the Israelites, but to all humanity.

Conclusion

Genesis Chapter 3 reveals a remarkable degree of insight by the author/s of Genesis into the workings of the human brain. However, the most remarkable aspect of the story of Adam and Eve is the light it casts on the human capacity to reason. As the account shows, reason can be applied equally for good or evil. More reason does not guarantee more benevolent and good outcomes; less reason doesn’t automatically lead to malevolent or evil outcomes. Often it is the reverse, as history reveals.

The current consensus that reason can give us objective principles of morality is delusional. Reason is a neutral faculty. Its worth rests entirely on whether it is in the service of morality, or in the service of primitive human instinct.

That is the real message behind the story of Adam and Eve. And it is a message we should heed!

In the next article we will discover how the author/s of Genesis could have had such a profound understanding of the working of the universe, and of the human mind.

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This series of articles is based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God by Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

Notes

[1] Philo, On the Creation, LVIII (163).

[2] Genesis 3: 1 – 7.

[3] Grayling, ACX. The God Argument, page 192 and 199. A full Review of The God Argument can be read under Book Reviews on this website jbhmcmillan.com.

[4] Grayling, page 205.

[5] Grayling, page 206.

[6] Grayling, page 201.

[7] Grayling, page 202.

[8] Grayling, page 193.

[9] Villa P, Roebroeks W (2014) Neandertal Demise: An Archaeological Analysis of the Modern Human Superiority Complex. PLoS ONE 9(4): e96424. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096424.

[10] Genesis 3: 6.

[11] Philo, On the Creation, LVI (157) and (160) respectively.

[12] The name Eve is not used in Genesis 3 until verse 20 – “and Adam called his wife’s  name Eve …”

[13] Genesis 3: 7.

[14] Genesis 3: 17.

[15] Genesis 3: 19.

[16] Genesis 4: 7.

[17] Genesis 4: 13 – also translated “My punishment is more than I can bear.”

[18] Genesis 4: 16.

[19] Genesis 4: 17.

[20] Genesis 4: 20.

[21] Genesis 12: 3.

[22] Genesis 22:18.

A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part VIII): Science in Genesis Chapter 2 – The Garden of Eden

Early man was like a house wired for light, but for a long time was in darkness; then a switch was thrown, and the house was full of light.

Humans became conscious beings; conscious of their own existence, their own mortality, and their own actions.

That sums up Chapter 2 of Genesis, which goes back to the time of the ‘awakening’ of the neurological moral network in the first of the species to experience it, and the dilemma that ‘awakening’ created for reason when it was confronted with the competing demands of the faculties of instinct and morality. The story of The Garden of Eden is the story of that ‘awakening’.

As we have seen in previous articles, especially in relation to Days Three and Six, Genesis 2, verses 1 to 5, tell us that by the end of the six “days” no life existed on Earth in the form we would recognize today. There was only DNA in primitive organisms. That was because there was not yet water on the Earth in liquid form.

When water did finally appear, the DNA that would develop into the variety of life on Earth, including human beings, had already been ‘programmed’; it was ready and waiting.

As physicist Freeman Dyson said, ‘It’s as if the universe knew we were coming.’[1]

But according to Genesis, it’s not so much that the universe knew we were coming, but that it had been prepared for our coming. Indeed, it even made our coming possible. It is the cosmic factory; and life is the cosmic product.

Then, when the Earth had cooled sufficiently, water appeared. As Genesis records, “there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.[2]

The machinery of the cosmic factory had been oiled, and production of life could begin in earnest.

The formation of the human brain

The description of the Garden of Eden can only refer to the human brain: “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.  And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.[3]

Philo says that these verses are “symbolical rather than strictly accurate. For no trees of life or of knowledge have ever at any previous time appeared upon the earth, nor is it likely that any will appear hereafter. But I rather conceive that Moses was speaking in an allegorical spirit, intending by his paradise to intimate the dominant character of the soul, which is full of innumerable opinions as this figurative paradise was of trees.[4]

I agree that the verses are symbolic, and if Philo meant by “the dominant character of the soul” the human brain, I would agree with that as well. But I cannot agree that the trees represent the “innumerable opinions” of the multitudes. The description of the kind of trees in the Garden perfectly fits the neurological faculties ‘programmed’ into human DNA in Day Six. http://wp.me/p5izWu-92

Those were the faculties of instinct, reason, and morality. And those instincts are activated by the prospect of pleasure, or the fear of pain, and the human capacity for reason responds accordingly.

But we also saw that reason in the service of instinct accounts for what we call evil, while reason in the service of morality accounts for good.

When we consider the description of the trees in that light, the description of the Garden quickly begins to resemble the human brain.

First, the words “out of the ground made the Lord God to grow …” reflect the words used relating to the forming of man – “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground ….”[5] So when the trees are made to “grow” out of “the ground”, it clearly implies the “the ground” that had been made “man”.

The “trees” that are “made to grow” perfectly correspond to the various neurological faculties: “pleasant to the sight” refers to instincts; “good for food” refers to the innate ‘knowledge’ of how the universe and life functions; “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” refers to the “morality module”; and the “tree of life” refers to the moral equation, which is why it is in “the midst of the garden.”   The interaction between the various neurological faculties must be properly balanced in order to keep the moral equation in equilibrium.

However, all these elements of the human brain needed some way to interact with the world. The human instinct for reproduction, for example, can only be activated when it perceives something that it recognizes as another of the species which causes an arousal of that instinct. The instinct needs to be ‘fed’ by sight. Likewise, the instinct for survival is activated when the senses perceive some danger to survival – an unfamiliar sound, an unusual sight, another of the species perceived as a threat.

The physical senses ‘feed’ the brain – only Genesis calls it ‘watering’ the brain: “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.”[6]

This verse very obviously refers to the nervous system which supplies the brain with the information it needs in order to function. That is clear because the river didn’t go INTO the garden to water the trees, it “WENT OUT of Eden to water the garden.” It would be rather pointless for the water which should be ‘watering’ the trees in the garden to flow in the wrong direction.

So when we conceive of the Garden of Eden as referring to the human brain, and the river which flows out of  “Eden to water the garden” as the human nervous system which ‘waters’ the brain by supplying it with the information it requires in order to function, then the verse makes sense. The information the brain needs would be provided through the senses on the extremities of the body – the “four heads” of the river.

The references to what may have been physical places, and understood by the people at the time to represent certain of the senses, are not particularly important. The important point is that the rivers and the Garden symbolize the senses and the nervous system which ‘water’ the brain with information.

The activation of the human brain

The next verse is curious, because God is said to put man into the garden for a second time: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.[7] The crucial difference, of course, is that this time the man is put in the garden “to dress it and to keep it.” On the first occasion, he was just put there.

That is because the first reference is to the formation of the brain – “out of the ground made the Lord God to grow …”; whereas the second is to the activation of the faculties of the brain – “to dress it and to keep it”.

The latent ‘genes’ had been activated, or as the Encode Project would say, the necessary genetic “switches” had activated the genes, and the various neurological faculties began to function in the first of the species with a fully formed human brain.

The next verse is also crucial to understand why the “man” is put into the garden a second time: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”[8]

Now, we should note that the original Hebrew did not say “thou shalt surely die”, but “in dying thou shalt die”. This distinction is crucial, and we shall return to it shortly.

First, we should note that God is said to speak to the “man”, or more properly, “commanded” him. But the word used is the same as was used in Genesis 1: 22 – “saying”.

God commanded the man, SAYING”. We should remember that the word “saying” symbolizes a limited comprehension on the part of those ‘hearing’ the words, or at least a limited comprehension of the words being spoken.

The symbolism of God commanding the “man”, in conjunction with the word “saying”, tells us that the “morality module,” which the “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” represents, had been activated, but that its messages were being subconsciously processed.

That is confirmed by the warning issued by God of the consequences of violating the message – “in dying thou shalt die.”

So the activation of these various faculties means that this first human being subconsciously knew that certain actions were wrong, and that there would be a consequence for committing those actions.

However, since there was no other human being to tell him that the actions were wrong, and no other human being to impose a consequence, or punishment, he would have reflected on why he felt that such actions could be wrong. Moreover, he would have noted that many of the actions of the very species from which he had emerged were wrong by his new understanding, yet there were no consequences to them indulging in such behavior.

So he would have wondered whether the consequences would be imposed at some time other than during his lifetime, and the only other time could be after his death. That would have made him aware of his own mortality, thus causing a consciousness of being alive.

The first of the human species had become a conscious being; conscious of his own mortality, and conscious of his own existence; and all because the neurological moral network had been activated.

Functioning of the neurological moral network

Verses 18 to 25 of Chapter 2 record how the now activated neurological moral network began to direct human behavior, and ultimately, human destiny. I shall only briefly address these verses in this article, although I do address them in detail in the book.

Here is a summary of those verses.

First, God is said to have wanted to find “an help meet for” Adam (the first human being with fully formed human DNA) because he should not “be alone.” So God made all the animals and brought them to Adam to be named. But still “there was not found an help meet for him.” So God put him into a deep sleep, removed one of his ribs, made a woman, and “brought her unto him.”

Adam is then said to have recognized the woman as “bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.”

As a consequence of this mutual recognition, “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Now the first thing we should note is that the “man” was alone, and that it was “not good” that he should be alone. This suggests that fully formed human DNA had appeared in only one (or at best a scattered few) of the first of the species. So he would have recognized that he was different to the species from whom he had emerged.

But this does not mean that he was physically alone. He must have been the offspring of a mother and father. And no doubt he would have been part of a group or tribe of people. That is because, as Philo says, “all the individuals of the race had not yet assumed their distinctive form; since the extreme species are contained in the genus.”[9] This first “man” was thus the first to assume the “distinctive [human] form.”

The reason that it was “not good that the man should be alone” is that his instinct was to reproduce, but there was no female of the species with fully ‘matured’ human DNA to reproduce with. To this first “man”, reproducing with what ostensibly would have been another ‘species’ would have been an unattractive prospect.

So he would have become frustrated. But in doing so, he appears to have activated other elements of his brain.

The words “I will make him an help meet for him” can only symbolize the activation of the ability to reason at a higher level, compelling this first human to examine the life around him in the hope of finding another living thing like him with whom he could reproduce.

However, by examining the various different species around him, this first human appeared to activate another latent characteristic of the brain – the language module. Adam started ascribing names to the animals.

But Adams’s search for a mate proved futile: “but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

So it seems that this first of the human species must have settled for a mate from one of the more primitive species from which he had emerged, even though she would have been a different ‘species’ in some major respects. As a consequence, his fully ‘programmed’ human DNA must have again become dormant: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.”[10]

The symbolism of “Adam” going into a deep sleep means that the fully formed human DNA he was carrying around probably passed through several generations while remaining dormant. So a number of the pre-human species may well have had this dormant DNA

Then, by a coincidence of probabilities, the dormant DNA was activated in both a male and female at the same time, and those two must have been in close physical proximity. And immediately they recognized each other as being different to the species around them, and virtual mirror-images of each other, except one was male and the other female. As Philo said, they would have “beheld” each other “as in a mirror.”[11]

The human species was ready to “go forth and multiply”.

Recognition of moral obligations

The effect of this mutual recognition was that some additional elements of the “morality module” were activated. That is symbolized by the words “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” They recognized that this new relationship between members of the new species was different to what went before. They recognized the importance of monogamy.

The joining together of a male and a female to create new life makes them “one flesh” in the new life they create. And the obligations which attach to that, both before and after they “cleave unto” each other, required that they forsake any and all other relationships. They recognized that their relationship should be unique, exclusive and special – for the benefit of the new life they create.

There we find the source of the positive obligations we referred to in the introductory article.

Subconscious recognition of obligations

However, these first human beings did not sit down and make a list of what they thought was right and wrong. As we have already seen, they just subconsciously knew how they should behave.

That is the message in verse 25: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” The reason that “they were not ashamed” was that they did not look upon the physical body, and the act of procreation, as something to be exploited for the primary purpose of generating physical pleasure.

Their neurological moral networks subconsciously communicated the law to them – it “commanded” them, saying”. The neurological moral network automatically kept the moral equation in equilibrium, as long as they heeded what it told them.

So there would have been an innocence about them. They would have lived harmoniously with nature, and others like them. They would not have fenced off portions of the Earth to claim as their own. They would not have sought to quell their insecurities and fears by building walls around themselves. They would not have sought security in subjugating others to their control and power. They did not even need clothes to display their vanity. Neither did they need clothes to divert others from lusting after their bodies – they did not lust, because they knew it was wrong.

They would not have been in need of laws, because they knew the law. They would have known that making their own laws would simply be a ruse to violate the universal law which applied to everything and everybody.

That was the state of the human race before primitive human instincts got the better of some.

But there are alive today some of the descendants of those first human beings who inhabited the Earth at the time described in Genesis – the time when the first of the species emerged. And like their ancestors, they simply do what they know to be right and good. They are not consumed by the demands of their primitive instincts. They are not in relentless pursuit of pleasure, or the persistent fear of death and insecurity. They are an innocent, decent, and good people; or at least as innocent and good as anyone can be after being exposed to the ‘civilized world’.

They are the San people of Southern Africa, also known as the Bushmen. Anthropologists and geneticists identify some of these peoples as the ancestors of all human beings. Although I would say that the rest of us are the descendants of that part of the original family that went astray, and they are the descendants of those who did not go astray.

And as we shall see in the next article dealing with Chapters 3 and 4, science and Genesis supports that conclusion.

———————————————————–

This series of articles is based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God by Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

Notes:

[1] Kaku, Parallel Worlds, page 248.

[2] Genesis 2: 6.

[3] Genesis 2: 8 – 9.

[4] Philo, On the Creation, LVI (154).

[5] Genesis 2: 7.

[6] Genesis 2: 10.

[7] Genesis 2: 15.

[8] Genesis 2: 16 – 17.

[9] Philo, On the Creation, XXIV (76).

[10] Genesis 2: 21.

[11] Philo, On the Creation, XXIV (76).