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It is Fundamental for the Preservation of Freedom that all Religions, and especially Islam, be Subjected to Scrutiny, Criticism, and even Ridicule – A Response to Mehdi Hasan of the Huffingdon Post UK

Given the volume of condemnation following the massacres in Paris I had decided against making any comment other than short condolences on Twitter and Facebook in which I quoted Winston Churchill: “This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”
But then I stumbled across an article by the “political director” of the Huffington Post UK, a certain Mehdi Hasan, titled As a Muslim, I’m Fed Up With the Hypocrisy of the Free Speech Fundamentalists. For those with a sufficiently robust digestive system, you can read the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/charlie-hebdo-free-speech_b_6462584.html
Hasan’s diatribe reflects the farce into which the ‘debate’ has descended. But worse, the patent inability of Western commentators to articulate any proper justification for causing offence to millions of Muslims, other than a ‘right to free speech’, has provided precisely the kind of platform from which the likes of Hasan can spew forth their vile beliefs and opinions.
Which is why, for example, Hasan can feel confident comparing cartoons satirizing Mohammed with “cartoons mocking the Holocaust,” or “caricatures of the 9/11 victims falling from the Twin Towers”. And such ‘comparisons’ have been trotted out time and again on TV by Muslim ‘spokespeople’ who have been flooding the airwaves in Britain and, I suspect, across the world.
The troubling element in such ‘equivalence of victimization’ is that Hasan, and Muslims everywhere (if their ‘spokespeople’ do in fact speak for them), consider the ‘offence’ they feel at their prophet being ridiculed is of the same magnitude as the offence normal people feel when men, women, children, and even babies, are cast into gas chambers; or the ‘offence’ Muslims feel at their prophet being mocked is the same as the horror of those Jewish men, women and boys who had to drag the poisoned corpses of their fellow Jewish men, women, children, and even babies, out of the gas chambers and toss them into burning pits or ovens to be incinerated; or the ‘offence’ Muslims feel at their prophet being portrayed in an unflattering manner in a cartoon is directly comparable to the utter anguish and fear that drove people to throw themselves from the Twin Towers after they had been attacked by people proclaiming the greatness of their god. And for Hasan’s benefit, there were in fact many Muslims, especially in Gaza and the West Bank, who did rejoice at the horror of human beings throwing themselves from The Twin Towers to escape the flames.
But in any event, according to Hasan, it wasn’t the drawings of Mohammed that drove what he calls the “disaffected young men” to massacre the people in Paris. No, it was – yes, you guessed it – the “images of US torture in Iraq in 2004.” Why then, Mr Hasan, did these “disaffected young men” murder innocent cartoonists and Jews in Paris for something done thousands of miles away by others in Iraq? And what then, Mr Hasan, was the motive for the massacre of 2,000 people in Nigeria by the Muslim group Boko Haram at about the same time as the Paris massacres? Or the kidnap of schoolgirls in Nigeria? Or the daily atrocities committed around the world in the name of the Muslim god and his prophet? Or 9/11, which happened years before? And why then, Mr Hasan, did these “disaffected young men” proclaim that they had “avenged the honor of the prophet” after the massacre?
Frankly Mr Hasan, most of us are simply sick of hearing the excuses.
Muslims clearly think that their faith is so much more ‘profound’ that the faith of others that the ‘offence’ they experience by criticism of their prophet, their god, or their religion is of a depth unimaginable by non-Muslims. That in itself is deeply offensive to people of other faiths. But no doubt that is why Muslims see no offence in the Koran claiming that Jews and Christians falsified their Scriptures (Sura 2: 75; 5: 16 and 61:7); or why the Koran ridicules the virgin birth (Sura 4: 171 & 5: 19); or why the Koran proclaims that the belief in the deity of Christ is blasphemy (Sura 5: 19, 75 & 76).
And that brings me to the point of this short article – why scrutiny, criticism, and even ridicule of Islam and Mohammed is not only justified, but required, if human beings are to retain anything resembling freedom.
But let me say first that when I refer to freedom I am not talking about freedom of speech. As any lawyer will tell us, there are restrictions to freedom of speech. But contrary to Hasan’s assertion, those restrictions are not just for the preservation for “law and order”. That would be a licence for authoritarianism, which of course is what Muslims want to impose on the rest of us through Sharia law. The restrictions on freedom of speech are for the preservation of freedom itself by ensuring that those who would seek to impose their authority on others are exposed through scrutiny, criticism, and ridicule if necessary. So those restrictions certainly DO NOT apply to restrain or restrict criticism of any religion, and especially not Islam and Mohammed.
The principle is very simple. To a greater or lesser extent all religions proselytize in order to bring people to their particular faith. Muslims have a duty to attempt to convert people to Islam, and to retain people in the faith. Apostates do not get much sympathy. The objective of Islam is that all human beings should be brought to submit to Allah and Mohammed, and Muslims have a duty to strive to bring that about. Even if we ignore the verses in the Koran that specifically require even force to convert people to Islam, the fact is that it is presented as the true faith to which we should all submit.
In short, Muslims believe that everyone should submit to the authority of their religion. Islam means submission.
Now this is the important point. When someone seeks to persuade (never mind demand under threat) others to submit to the authority of some person, deity, ideology, belief or law, then we are free to evaluate what it is they are offering, and if we find it wanting, then we are free to express our opinions and views about what is on offer, and even ridicule it if we think it deserves ridicule. And if we assess what is on offer to be dangerous to those who would subscribe to it, then we even have a duty to dissuade others from falling into bondage to that ideology. And if that requires offending those who already subscribe to that persuasion, then that is the price they pay for proffering to others that which is found wanting.
Let me make the point more simply for the likes of Hasan who clearly have difficulty recognising simple principles: If you want to sell me a car, I will want to look under the hood. And if I don’t like what I see, I’ll tell you, and anyone else who may be interested in buying your car.
All religions have undergone such scrutiny. In his book “The Quest of the Historical Jesus”, Albert Schweitzer well explained Christianity’s ‘baptism of criticism’ by Reimarus and David Friedrich Strauss when he noted that “It was HATE not so much of the person of Jesus as of the supernatural nimbus with which it was so easy to surround him, and with which he had in fact been surrounded. … And their HATE sharpened their historical insight … [which] … advanced the study of [Christianity] more than all the others put together. BUT FOR THE OFFENCE which they gave, the science of historical theology would not stand where it does today.”
Now why Muslims should think that their religion, their god, and their prophet, should be uniquely exempt from this simple principle of scrutiny, criticism, ridicule, and even hate, is quite curious, especially because what Islam has to offer is hardly unique, and hardly enlightening, as anyone who has ever objectively read the Koran will know.
To quote again from Albert Schweitzer, this time in his excellent book “Civilization and Ethics”, his assessment of Islam was that it shows “itself to be in all points unoriginal and decadent.” Perhaps that would be a good place to initiate a proper and open debate about what Islam is really all about.
But in the meantime, Muslims will simply have to brace themselves for the kind of scrutiny, criticism, ridicule and hate that even the most benign religions can attract in a free society, never mind a religion whose adherents, however few, proclaim to inflict unspeakable horrors on innocent people in the name of their god, and in the cause of defending the honor of their prophet. And if they can’t face the prospect, then there is always the old adage – if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan All Rights Reserved 2015
This article was first published by the Intellectual Conservative on January 14, 2015.

Why Government and Big Business are Intent on Destroying the Last Remnants of Marriage, Family and Faith

The last century has seen a concerted campaign by Western governments to erode the important role played by marriage, family and faith in people’s lives.

‘Controlling behavior’

The latest assault on these institutions comes from the British Government, which is to introduce a new law of “controlling behaviour” to make it a criminal offence, under threat of a 14 year prison sentence, for a husband, for example, to ‘monitor’ the activities of his wife if he suspects that he is being deceived.

According to the Daily Telegraph of London, the new law will make it “illegal for someone to exercise ‘coercive control’ over their partner. It means [that] for the first time men who control their partners through threats or by restricting their personal or financial freedom, could face prison in the same way as those who are violent towards them.” And “there will be no statutory time limit for the offences, meaning abuse dating back years can be taken into account.

But such a law will not be peculiar to Britain. According to the Telegraph, similar laws have been implemented in the United States which “led to a 50 per cent rise in the number of women coming forward to report domestic abuse.” Many other Western countries have similar laws, while yet others will no doubt follow suite in short order.

It seems most curious that governments that justify monitoring our every movement and our every word, on the basis that we ‘have nothing to fear if we have nothing to hide’, should consider it worthy of criminal penalty if a husband or wife does the same.

In the vast majority of cases, a husband or wife will have far better justification for resorting to such measures than government. So perhaps it would be more appropriate to apply an offence of “controlling behaviour” to governments and their agencies.

Reasons for the New Law

But why would Western governments be so determined to introduce laws that will quite patently serve only to further undermine marriage and family?

The most obvious reason is that the majority of people have been conditioned, mostly willingly, into believing that promiscuity and adultery are a ‘right’, and they see no reason why their ‘freedom’ to indulge that ‘right’ should be inhibited in any way by the small ‘inconvenience’ of marriage, or children.

Governments have been eager to promote that perception, and for good reason. It undermines the institution of marriage as a sanctuary in which people find refuge and strength. People derive their moral compass from the family, not from government. And when family is the centre of people’s lives, governments have less control over them.

So governments needed to drive a wedge between husbands and wives. And the best way to do that is to engender mistrust between them. That was done by promoting sexual ‘liberation’. Promiscuity before marriage has the natural effect of eroding the sanctity of marriage. Marriage becomes just another in a series of relationships (see article The Meaning, and Essential Ingredients, of Marriage). That inevitably leads to instability because, quite naturally, one or both parties will feel apprehension about the other’s previous sexual partners and practices. And apprehension leads to suspicion. When someone then becomes suspicious that they are being betrayed, they take measures to protect themselves and their security, and especially the security of their children. In fact, they have a moral duty to do so.

Yet, the consensus is that someone’s previous life is not the business of the person they marry, and with whom they have children. ‘What I did before is none of your business!’ is the usual refrain.

This mistrust between husbands and wives was further compounded when government declared that there should be no penalty for adultery. In fact, the person who does the betraying is often rewarded, which is hardly a disincentive.

Adultery has thus become commonplace. People see it all around them, every day. So it is not unnatural that they should fear that their own spouses may be doing the same, especially when patterns of behavior and routines suddenly and inexplicably change. So it should not be surprising that they would want to reassure themselves.

Having created this state of extreme distrust between the sexes, government is now intent on criminalizing the consequences. That is because government has declared that the kind of ‘controlling behavior’ such distrust engenders is ‘abusive’; it is, according to government, akin to physical violence.

There can be no doubt that once this law is introduced in Britain, there will be a concerted campaign by government and the sponsors of the law to exacerbate the distrust that already exists between husbands and wives. Even the slightest suspicion will be considered an infraction of the law and portrayed as ‘abusive’, requiring intervention by the police. The law will amount to a license for infidelity which will cause further discord in the family – hardly a conducive environment for children. But then, the object of the law is to facilitate infidelity and undermine family, not to create a harmonious environment for children.

Even where there is a strong suspicion of betrayal, voicing concern or requiring proof to the contrary will be considered abusive. That will leave spouses with only two options: To suffer the humiliation of being a victim of infidelity in silence in the hope of keeping the family intact for the sake of the children, or walking out and getting a divorce. And that will simply add to the number of children from broken homes, and thus compound the social problems already prevalent in society.

If government was even remotely interested in providing secure and stable environments for children, it would be taking steps to strengthen families, not destroy them. And the way to do that is to encourage parents to be thoroughly open with each other, not secretive and evasive. Parents should have shared bank accounts so that each can monitor the family’s finances; they should have unrestricted access to each other’s passwords for email and social media accounts; each should encourage the other to check email and social media messages as a means of reassurance; each should have mobile phone passwords for the other, and be encouraged to check calls and costs; and each should, as a matter of course, recount to the other their day’s activities.

Partners in marriage, and indeed any kind of personal relationship, especially when children are involved, have an obligation to make every effort to reassure each other. Each needs to ascertain what causes the other discomfort or apprehension and do whatever is required to allay any fears.

Parents should recognize that such actions are not concessions, and neither do they amount to submissive behavior. They are fundamental obligations parents have towards each other so as to provide the kind of harmonious environment for bringing up their children. These are the actions that create trust between people. But today, trust is something people believe they can demand as a ‘right’, not something that has to be earned.

Families are built on sharing and reassuring, not on secrecy and suspicion. A divided institution is weak, unstable and contentious.

And it is just such weak, unstable and suspicious families government wants to create. So it portrays such obligations as ‘abuse’.

The difference between marriage and work relationships

In order to fully understand governments’ intent and method to destroy marriage, family, and faith, we should briefly note the fundamental differences between marriage and work relationships.

Marriage has at its heart the aim and expectation that the relationship will result in the creation of a new human life, whereas work is a means of providing for our physical needs. Work is what we do to provide for our families. We do not have families so that we can work.

Of course, government has sought to invert the obvious commonsense of that premise by promoting the silly idea that the most important issue in life, apart from sex, is ‘career’; and many have been keen to delude themselves with that fiction.

But irrespective of that self-deception, the fact is that a relationship that has as its focus the wellbeing of a human life – and not any human life, but the human life that two people bring into this world by their own voluntary act – must necessarily attract fundamentally more onerous obligations on the parties than a relationship that involves stacking shelves, tending a check-out, treating patients, servicing clients, or pleasing shareholders. All of those things simply involve catering to the needs of others.

The elements for a strong and stable marriage and family

The obligations that attach to two human beings who create new human life form the bonds that define marriage and family. And they comprise three principal elements.

First, both parties have an obligation to ensure that the relationship is unique, exclusive and special for the benefit of the new life that is the objective of the relationship.

Secondly, it requires the autonomy of at least one of the parties. At least one of the parties must be free from the authority of other human beings; that is, not in service to a boss, patient, corporation, client, shareholder, or institution. The autonomy of at least one party to the relationship establishes the autonomy of the relationship itself. And there can be no doubt that, in the main, women have the unique strengths and qualities to secure such autonomy within a relationship.

And thirdly, the relationship requires a moral authority to bind it together, but which subjects neither party to the dictate of the other. And only mutual faith in God can provide such an impartial moral authority.

It is precisely these elements that define marriage and family, and which make it autonomous and secure, that are an impediment to government and big business exercising absolute control over people. So they have come under relentless attack.

How government seeks to undermine marriage, family and faith.

In respect of the first element, we have already seen how government, with the aid of devious marketing strategies by big business, has created the perception that uninhibited sexual indulgence is a ‘right’. That has created distrust between the sexes, thus undermining marriage and family. And those who have the autonomy, self-respect and self-discipline to resist indulging their new found sexual ‘liberties’ are made to feel “thoroughly ashamed”. Embarrassing someone into abandoning deeply held convictions is itself blatant emotional abuse, yet it is rife. But it is not only emotional abuse. Young people, and especially young girls, are pressured and ridiculed into turning their bodies into little more than pleasure-generating objects, and that is tantamount to physical abuse. And once they succumb, the consequences are irreversible.

In respect of the second element, the campaign by government and big business focused on belittling, ridiculing, and denigrating the autonomous role of mothers as the anchor of marriage and family. Mothers were portrayed as being ‘tied to the sink’, occupied in ‘baking cookies’ or knitting, and incapable of engaging in ‘intelligent conversation’ because they are focused on ‘bringing up children’. The most unpleasant aspect of this ongoing campaign is that it was, and still is, conducted mostly by women – women exhibiting the worst aspects of “masculine stupidity”. It is surprising that the women who engage in scorning those women who dedicate their lives to their children and families are unable to recognize that they are attempting to inflict emotional abuse on their fellow human beings, and indeed fellow women. Perhaps it is self-guilt that generates the kind of hostility that can only be assuaged by attempting to humiliate others.

This campaign also appealed to human vanity. Remarkably, many women easily succumbed to the peculiar notion that ‘autonomy’ was to be found in submitting to the authority of another in the workplace. They deluded themselves that being ‘chained to the bosses desk’, or punching timecards in a factory, or filling in timesheets in some office, gave them ‘freedom’. It was more ‘satisfying’ to please the boss than cater to the needs of their own children – probably because the latter is considerably more demanding than the former.

The final element of marriage and family that had to be undermined was belief in God. God provides a moral authority that transcends government, and transcends ‘career’. God provides the moral authority that determines the obligations we have, first and foremost, to our children. That requires one parent, at least, to be autonomous, which deprives big business of compliant labor. But perhaps even more concerning to business and government, God also provides a meaning to life that does not require the pointless and useless branded products produced by big businesses. And that is not good for demand. Those who have God don’t need logos to give their lives meaning.

So those who believe in God are ridiculed for the “narrowness of their intellects.”

The campaign to belittle those who believe in God has as its objective establishing government as the supreme authority, and the supreme lawmaker. Restraint in action should not be as a result of recognizing obligations that emanate from a Supreme Lawmaker, but by fear of punishment from government. God is replaced by ‘values’, which need to be imposed on children from an early age. Of course, nobody can identify the ‘authority’ for these ‘values’ other than the dictate or custom of some person or group of people. Then the only ‘moral’ prerogative is that anything goes as long as you can get away with it.

That gives government the authority to determine what is right and wrong, and compel people to obey under threat of sanction.

Belief in God directly challenges that ‘authority’. So God had to go.

The proper context and true intent in destroying marriage, family and faith

We can now go back to the issue of “controlling behavior”, and see it in its proper context and true intent.

Those very obligations and elements that are the rock on which marriage and family should be built are an impediment to government exercising unfettered authority and control over people. Neither are they conducive to a compliant and submissive workforce, and an easily manipulated market for pointless products.

The very qualities that give strength to marriage and family are the qualities government and big business want to appropriate and subvert to their own authority. And they have already achieved that for the most part. These new offences are directed at eliminating the last remnants of resistance.

A comparison between ‘abuse’ in marriage and the workplace

In order to ascertain what exactly this new law would consider to constitute ‘abuse’ in marriage, it would be informative to conclude this analysis with a comparison of the respective conditions under which parents operate in marriage, and the conditions imposed on them in the workplace.

So let’s start with that notion that pre-marital sexual practices and partners have nothing to do with the other party to a marriage; that refrain of ‘what I did before is none of your business.’

Those who invoke this ridiculous refrain in marriage should perhaps attempt to invoke it at an interview with a prospective employer. They could tell that employer that their previous education, interests, work experience, possible criminal convictions, are none of their business. They could insist that the prospective employer should simply ‘trust them’ to be the perfect person for the job.

In order to test the arguments and conclusions in this short article, I recently applied for a job as “Warehouse Operative” with a global corporation.

The job involved stacking shelves, so it seemed that my work and life history could hardly be relevant. On the contrary. But they were not looking for any higher qualifications, or even experience, in shelf-stacking, but they did require disclosure of pretty much everything else about my life, and they required the authority to conduct extensive and intrusive background checks, including police checks. That involved waiving most legal protections for personal data. And any untruthful or inaccurate information would be grounds for summary dismissal without pay, and a claim for compensation should the company suffer any damage as a consequence. Then there were the stringent confidentiality agreements, preventing disclosure of any information about the company, of whatever nature, to any other party. All for the privilege of stacking shelves.

Why would stacking shelves entitle an employer to such a detailed history of a person’s life, while creating new life gives no such entitlement?

Common sense would dictate that it should be the other way round. Parties to marriage are far more vulnerable to betrayal and deceit than a global corporation. And the consequences are considerably more damaging, especially for children.

However, if a party to a relationship contemplating marriage and children required the kind of detailed disclosure from the other party that is required for a shelf-stacking job, that would be regarded as ‘abuse’. So people contemplating marriage will just have to rely on blind trust; or better still, simply don’t get married or have children.

Yet, this kind of absolute disclosure for a job is just to get in the door.

Once in the door, things get considerably more tyrannical. In the case of the Warehouse Operative, an outline of employees’ duties was provided by a representative of the company to the mass of applicants who had been herded together like cattle at market – men and women, young and old.

Some of these duties were set out in a detailed employment contract that had been handed out to the candidates. But remarkably, the candidates were told that they need not read the contract, nor the waiver of legal protections against hours worked, because the contract was non-negotiable.

Of course, those who could take the time to read the contract, and who were in a financial position to decline the job if they were not happy with the draconian terms, could simply walk out. But what I discovered is that a large proportion of the candidates had been compelled to apply for the job because they were in receipt of state benefits. If they declined the job, or were rejected for seeking to negotiate any of the terms, they would lose their state benefits. That would leave them and their families homeless and penniless. No doubt the representatives of the company were well aware of the plight of so many of the applicants, and so able to take advantage of the situation.

In effect, people were being compelled to labor for the company under duress and threat. But worse, if they found the conditions of work intolerable and resigned, or if they were fired, they would likewise lose their right to claim state benefits. And that is nothing short of forced labor.

Quite rightly, Western governments do not condone similar duress when it comes to marriage. Forced marriage violates the most fundamental principle of morality – freedom. People must be free to decide whether or not to assume obligations, especially the onerous obligations of marriage.

However, government does not consider compelling people to labor an infringement of their freedom. The argument is that welfare benefits are a privilege, and people should be compelled to take whatever job is available, or lose their ability to sustain themselves and their families. That enables big business to capitalize on the situation by imposing intolerable working conditions on employees knowing that if they refuse they starve.

But we should also consider for a moment the argument that welfare benefits are a privilege.

Human beings, by virtue of the simple fact that they are human beings, are free to provide for their survival and security, and are therefore free to access the resources of the Earth to do so. The Earth is a resource common to all who inhabit it. Human beings are no less free to access the resources of the Earth to eat, than they are free to access the air to breathe. So when a small minority of human beings, mostly under the guise of artificial corporate entities, appropriate to themselves the vast majority of the resources of the Earth, they do not become owners of those resources to the exclusion of all other human beings; they become trustees. And trustees have onerous fiduciary duties towards the beneficiaries of the resources they hold. As the Preacher says, “the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.” Eccl 5:9. That is a fundamental principle not only in the Christian and Jewish traditions, but all religious traditions of any worth.

To argue that superior entrepreneurial ability vests ownership in the resources of the world to the exclusion of others is exactly the same thing as claiming that superior strength does so. Economic tyranny can no more vest authority in one person over others than can any other kind of tyranny.

So the fact that giant global corporations and financial institutions have appropriate so much of the Earth’s natural resources to themselves does not deprive human beings of the freedom to provide for their survival and security, and it does not relieve those institutions of their fiduciary duties towards those deprived access to those resources. Neither does it vest in any one person, group of people, or institution howsoever constituted, an authority to subvert the life of other human beings to their control. Economic tyranny is no different to military tyranny. Against either, human beings are free to exercise their freedom to provide for their survival and security if it is denied them. And history bears testimony to that truth.

We should now address the actual conditions under which people labor, and contrast that with marriage.

In the case of the Warehouse Operative job, the representatives of the company briefly described employees’ duties. Nearly 12 hours a day alternately on day and night shifts; half an hour for lunch/midnight dinner: two 15 minute coffee breaks a day; work activities would be monitored to the minute, and recorded; toilet breaks would be timed, and a point would be deducted from employees exceeding the allotted toilet time allowed; time off sick would also lose a point; loss of three points would result in summary dismissal; no telephone calls, texting, emails, or web browsing during work hours; a security check on entering the warehouse for work; and constant CCTV monitoring of the interior and exterior of the premises.

And all this for the minimum wage.

Now, we should just imagine if a husband or wife sought to impose such conditions on one another. It would, quite rightly, be considered abuse. Yet government considers such abuse to be absolutely acceptable when inflicted by a faceless giant corporation on those who have no option but to accept such conditions if they want to survive. Government even facilitates such economic tyranny by applying the necessary duress and threats to provide corporations with the cheap labor they are finding hard to recruit in the Third World. (see article The Feudalization of Britain.)

Yet, that is precisely why government and big business are intent on destroying marriage and family. Once they do so, there is really little else in life but work. So people have been conditioned to believe that even such work is preferable to, and more ‘admirable’, than looking after children in our own homes in order to build strong marriages and strong families.

Of course, there are those who will argue that such work conditions are the exception, and that other occupations, as in the professions, are in fact ‘rewarding’ and ‘liberating’.

Well, to finish off, let’s just compare the conditions imposed in even a relatively high paying job, an accountant or solicitor for example, with the kinds of things government considers abuse in a marriage or relationship.

Strict working hours will be required, mostly nine to five. Hours worked will have to be recorded in timesheets, and reviewed by the boss or management team. Telephone calls will all be logged, and will have to be allocated to clients. Some calls will be monitored and recorded. Email and social media activities will all be monitored. Receipts for expenses incurred on work related activities will have to be submitted for approval. Lunch and coffee breaks will be time-limited. There will be regular ‘performance reviews’ to check that performance is in line with expectations, and that will include a full review of time keeping, personal use of telephones, email and social media, interpersonal interaction with other staff and clients, and so on, and so on. In other words, every single aspect of a person’s work, performance and activities will be reviewed to see whether they are making a sufficient contribution to justify their continued employment. And if the review proves negative, a warning will be followed by dismissal if the person’s performance does not show considerable improvement.

Imagine now that one spouse sought to impose such conditions on the other. Every single aspect of such ‘controlling behavior’ would be regarded as ‘abuse’ justifying police intervention, and a severe prison term, especially under Britain’s proposed new law. And that will even be the case where one spouse suspects the other of betrayal.

Imagine also an employee telling the boss that it is none of his or her business where they’ve been all morning when they should have been at work; or that it is none of the boss’s business who the employee calls, what emails they receive or send, or what they read and write on social media; or that the employee’s expenses should not be questioned; or refuse to complete timesheets on the basis that it is an unwarranted monitoring of their time.

Imagine too the consequences of an employee betraying the employee, especially if that employee happens to be a government employee with access to sensitive information.

And yet, by a staggering inversion of logic, submitting to such ‘controlling behavior’ in pursuit of a career is regarded as ‘liberating’, while anything remotely similar in marriage is considered to be ‘abuse’. And betrayal of spouse and children in marriage is considered almost a duty if someone does not feel totally satisfied, or feels that their ‘liberty’ is being even remotely inhibited.

But that is precisely the outcome sought by government and big business: a total erosion of the obligations we have towards our families and children, and absolute submission to government and big business.

Human beings have been institutionalized in the corporate image, leaving children to be groomed by government as tomorrow’s productive economic units, or more properly, economic serfs of the new financial lords of the world.

Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2014 All Rights Reserved

British Government to ‘regulate’ relationships

The British Government intends to introduce a new law of “coercive control” to make it a criminal offence for a husband, for example, to ‘monitor’ the activities of his wife if he suspects that he is being deceived.

It seems odd that a government that justifies monitoring our every movement and our every word on the basis that we ‘have nothing to fear if we have nothing to hide’, should consider it worthy of criminal penalty when a husband or wife does the same.

Mostly, I expect, a husband or wife has far better justification for resorting to such measures than government.

So perhaps it would be more appropriate to apply an offence of “controlling behaviour” to government and its agencies.

The Feudalisation of Britain

Although this article addresses the feudalisation of Britain, it is a plague that infects the West as a whole.

The economic cause of this new feudalisation is that giant global corporations are running out of cheap labour in the Third World to sustain their profitability and the disproportionate remuneration packages for their executives.

At the same time, the dishonesty and incompetence of the Western financial industry has plunged Western economies into the worst recession in a century, which has left millions of unemployed and low-paid workers requiring government assistance in order to meet the basic necessities of life.

The West’s financial and corporate elite thus saw an opportunity. The unemployed in the West could be compelled to replace the loss of cheap Third World labour under threat of losing their government assistance. Governments called this scheme ‘austerity’.

A stark admission of this policy came from Britain’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, in an interview on Britain’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme, ‘How the Rich get Richer’, presented by Fraser Nelson of the Spectator magazine (17 November, 2014).

When it was explained to him that people working even 10 hours a day were unable to support themselves and their families, and were less well-off than they would be on welfare, Duncan Smith’s answer was that the Government’s welfare reforms would ensure that people would always be better off working than claiming benefits.

But since the Government does not propose to ensure that global corporations and financial institutions be compelled to pay a living wage, Duncan Smith clearly means that the already inadequate welfare support will be cut to such a level that people will be forced to work under any conditions and for any wage under threat of sanction.

The unemployed are to be harvested as a cash crop under threat of starvation and homelessness.

And while the Government relentlessly presses ahead with its feudalisation reforms, forcing many British people, the unemployed and workers alike, to resort to food banks to feed their children, and charity shops to clothe them, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer has been pre-occupied with challenging an EU directive from Brussels to cap bankers’ bonuses.

Yet, bankers’ bonuses are only possible because the Government has pumped billions of pounds into the hands of the incompetent and corrupt financial institutions that brought about this economic catastrophe in the first place. The greatest welfare cheque in history was written out to the greatest economic villains in history.

But to deflect criticism from the villains in the story, the Government, supported by a compliant media itself in the power of the new ‘economic royalists’, or beholden to the Government for its funds, set about demonising the victims by portraying them as welfare ‘scroungers’ crippling the economy, and living off ‘hard-working’ taxpayers.

This demonization of the poor, the vulnerable, and the oppressed, has instilled in even otherwise decent people a sense of contempt which has conditioned them to accept that their fellow human beings ‘deserve’  to suffer indignity, abuse, and hardship at the hands of a morally ambiguous Government, and morally vacuous corporations.

But this is not the first time in recent history that free people have faced the threat of the malevolent aspirations of economic tyrants. It is, however, the first time that they have faced them without a leader of vision up to the challenge.

The last time free people faced such a challenge, the American people, at least, had a leader ready and willing to confront the menace. He was Franklin D Roosevelt.

He faced down ‘the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power.’

He condemned the ‘small group [that] had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor — other people’s lives.’

And he recognized that ‘against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government.’

But today, the organized power of government is in the service of the ‘economic dynasties’. It is imposing on its own people an economic tyranny for the benefit of ‘the privileged princes’.

Government is rendering itself the enemy of the people. And when people are forced into serfdom, then they become free to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure their own survival, and regain their dignity and freedom.

Freedom is that one thing that ‘no man gives up but with life itself.’

So it is not surprising that when Duncan Smith was asked whether the government’s policies towards the poor and oppressed might lead to revolution, he was silent.

However, the fear of revolution may just explain the extensive and intrusive surveillance programmes of Western governments. And it may also explain the multitude of ‘threats’ we are told we need to fear; some real, like Islamic terror, for which our own governments are largely responsible; others contrived, like the idea of an expansionist Russia intent on invading Europe.

As long as the people have enough to fear, then Government and the new economic royalty have less to fear – or so they hope.

Joseph BH McMillan

Perspectives on the Scriptures: Genesis Chapter 3 – Adam and Eve; awakening the neurological moral network in the Human Brain.

The first question we need 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.

The key to understanding the story of Adam and Eve 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 previous article on the Garden of Eden, there would have been two literal human beings in whom this DNA would have been activated, who must have joined up to create new human life in their own genetic image. References to the “woman” and “Eve” in these chapters tell us that although the story is generic, it also refers to literal people, literal events, and literal places.

So there would have been two, or more likely several, human beings with human DNA who were the ancestors of all other human beings.

As we have seen, the San people of southern Africa speak to the fact that Genesis is certainly referring generically to the first human beings. That is because the San people seem to be the descendants of that branch of the human species that did not succumb to the temptation of eating of the ‘forbidden fruit’.

Chapter 3 of Genesis addresses the branch of the early species that did take of the fruit, and who are the ancestors of so-called ‘civilized’ human beings.. And that is what we will now address.

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 Philo: “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] It is the transformation from the latter to the former that Chapter 3 addresses.

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 we analyze 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 that took place many years ago, if not with just one such couple, then with several in various places over a period of time.

The important point to note is that these verses symbolize the first conflict between primitive human instincts and the promptings of the “morality module.” 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, as we have seen, they had developed a higher level of communication, as well as an ability to ‘reason’. But they also had a partially activated “morality module” which acted as a restraint to their actions descending into an imitation of the species from which they had emerged. And that “moral law” acted by way of guilt aroused by conscience.

So these early humans would not have a conscious list of moral principles – only a strong comprehension that certain behavior was ‘wrong’.

However, the woman would have enjoyed the pleasure of intimacy with Adam. And this would have acted as a spark to ignite her ability to ‘reason’, and to consider other ways in which further pleasure could be had from the act of intimacy in reproduction.

And there would have been plenty of suggestions in the behavior of the more primitive primates living in close proximity. The imagery of the account of the woman being tempted by the serpent is then 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 them, the woman begins to fantasize about what it would be like to do the same. She starts 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 asked herself 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.

In the end, the woman succumbs 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.

And what they did, it can only be concluded, is indulge in casual 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 – a certain AC Grayling. Grayling is so enamored by his ‘philosophical opinions’ that he set up his own university in London to propagate them. His university is called New College of the Humanities, of which he was appointed Master and Professor of Philosophy.

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, apart from a little youthful experimentation, 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, or doing a ‘high-five’, is to engage in sex, and to do so often.[4]

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

According to Grayling, 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 believes 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” – so he devotes the first half of his book to ‘disproving’ the existence of God. Of course, by getting rid of God, the likes of Grayling hope to get rid of guilt and conscience as well.

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 the arousal, is something that has stayed with some members of the species up to this very day. And Grayling is not unique in that regard; it is not an uncommon phenomenon.

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]

Now I am not claiming that the story of Adam and Eve relates solely, or at all, to this possible interbreeding between humans and Neandertals. It is likely that the story relates to a much earlier time when humans were only just emerging as the species we recognize today as humans. The example of the interbreeding with Neandertals appears to be a continuation of something that had started earlier.

The real significance of the story, however, lies in its explanation of how the “morality module” in the human brain was initially activated.

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

The answer is that to awaken the ‘morality module’ 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 which initially activated the “morality module” 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]

The story of Eve’s (“the woman’s[12]) temptation, therefore, clearly illustrates 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 human ability to ‘reason’ to justify taking actions that we ‘know’ are wrong.

The prohibition against eating of the tree represents morality – 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.

But once the first humans succumbed to the allure of the pleasure to be had by indulging their primitive instinct for reproduction, the “morality module” (the neurological moral network) was 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.

And this also suggests that the activation of the ‘morality module’ is directly related to human consciousness. It is only when humans activated the ability to judge their own actions that they became aware of the consequences of their actions, and thus their own mortality. And that brings about an awareness of ‘self’. That is the true meaning of the consequences God is said to have told Adam would follow should he eat of the tree – the Hebrew is not ‘thou shalt surely die’, but in ‘dying thou shalt die’.[14] The consequence related to the afterlife. And that gives rise to a distinction between life and death, and a consciousness of being alive.

Thus the very concept of morality, the human ability to judge its actions as right and wrong, triggers in the brain a sense of mortality, and thus an awareness of life. And that comes from the fact that humans can look at the behavior of animals, even ‘intelligent’ apes, and recognize that the same behavior in humans would be wrong. And that does not only relate to casual sexual indulgences with multiple partners, but to other things like violence.

Genesis tells us that once the “morality module” had been activated, 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 the instincts with which humans were programmed, amongst which are 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.

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 from certain actions, they acquired the ability to identify and classify specific actions as right or wrong. Yet, on the other hand, they were also driven on by their primitive instincts. And their ability to reason compelled them to service those instincts, either from fear of pain, or the attraction of pleasure.

The ‘punishment’ that God is said to inflict on them clearly symbolizes the conflict with which humans would be plagued from then on – a conflict between servicing their primitive instincts, or servicing the promptings of their “morality module”.

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. They now realize that the act of reproduction is not simply something to generate pleasure and excitement, it is not simply a ‘romantic’ experience. It is, as John Stuart Mill said, “one of the most responsible actions in the range of human life.” And I would say, THE most responsible act.

And the ‘punishment’ said to have been inflicted on Adam clearly relates to human beings falling into bondage of 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 to their survival and security.

The words “in sorrow shalt thou eat of [the ground] all the days of thy life[15] clearly refers to the instinct for security; “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground[16] 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 them 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 condemned themselves to “an existence more miserable than death.”

They were expelled from the Garden of Eden. But this doesn’t mean that they were ‘expelled’ from their own brains. It suggests that they lost the mental tranquility they previously enjoyed, and embarked on a life of the relentless servicing of their instincts. And yet, at the same time, they would be plagued by the promptings of the “morality module” to moderate and control their appetite for pleasure, and their fear of pain.

And being deprived of the ability to “take of the tree of life” points to a clear consequence between regulating human actions in accordance with the “morality module”, or in service of human instinct. And that consequence, Genesis is telling us, relates to the afterlife.

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.

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 threatening competitor who had to be neutralized. The symbolism of God speaking to Cain to ask why he is angry relates to Cain’s “morality module” 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.”[17]

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 is clear evidence 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, he sought to deny any involvement, saying he does not know where Abel is. Furthermore, he also asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?

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 for his brother’s welfare.

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.”[18]

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.”[19]

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 universal moral 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.[20] 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.” [21]

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.”[22]

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”[23]

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.

They were the people most able to recognize that the laws which govern the universe are moral laws; and those moral laws are an expression of a will, God’s Will.

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

This is the “insight regarding God’s will” possessed by the Prophets.[24]

But this kind of insight into the moral dimension of the human mind was not exclusive to the Israelites. It has arisen in many people in many diverse areas over the millennia, at times more clearly than at others. But we can detect from these various sources an unfolding set of common principles, right down to modern Charters and Declarations of Human Rights.

What these sources reveal, however, is not a ‘building’ of moral principles to accommodate changing times, but a discovery of those principles that were well understood by our ancestors millennia ago.

So what we see in these first few chapters of Genesis is a perfect description of the origins of life and the universe that validate and preempt scientific discovery. And we also see a compelling explanation of human behavior, human consciousness, and the capacity for human evil and human good.

But most important of all, we see that the human capacity for moral judgment is a manifestation of the moral content of the laws of physics. And the human capacity for moral judgment finds expression in the human quest for justice, which reveals the human search for a supreme law and a Supreme Lawmaker.

Joseph BH McMillan

This series of articles titled Perspectives on the Scriptures form the basis on which is constructed A ‘Final Theory’ of God.

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 2: 17.

[15] Genesis 3: 17.

[16] Genesis 3: 19.

[17] Genesis 4: 7.

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

[19] Genesis 4: 16.

[20] Genesis 4: 17.

[21] Genesis 4: 20.

[22] Genesis 12: 3.

[23] Genesis 22:18.

[24] Wood, Leon J, The Prophets of Israel, page 63

Perspectives on the Scriptures: Genesis Chapter 2 – The Garden of Eden: the Manifestation of the Laws of Physics as the Human Brain

The first thing we have to address in Chapter 2 of Genesis is whether, at the end of the sixth day, anything actually existed in a form we would recognize today as ‘reality’.

We should recall what Philo said: “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.[1]

Philo was talking about verses 4 and 5 of Genesis 2.

We should just remind ourselves of those verses:

These are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground.

The physicist Max Tegmark claims something very similar in his new book Our Mathematical Universe.

Tegmark claims that “reality isn’t just described by mathematics – it is mathematics …”[2] And that includes human beings. In Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH), “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.[3] And that, says Tegmark, means that “Through us humans … our universe has gained an awareness of itself, and we humans have created the concept of meaning. So in this sense, our universe doesn’t give life meaning, but life gives our universe meaning.[4]

And finally, on a note not dissimilar to the one made in respect of Day Six regarding morality and physics, Tegmark says this about mathematical structures: “we don’t invent mathematical structures – we discover them, and invent only the notation for describing them.”[5] Which would mean that if there is in fact a “morality module” embedded in the brain, it is likewise a “mathematical structure” for which we have invented words to describe, but one which, according to Tegmark, could be equally well described in mathematical equations. And as we shall see in the next article on Chapter 3, Genesis does suggest how this self-awareness, or consciousness, arises; and morality is central to it.

But there is a crucial difference between Tegmark and Philo. And that relates to how the “mathematical structures”, or “incorporeal ideas”, came about.

Tegmark claims that “there’s no making required” for a mathematical structure, “it simply exists.”[6] He thus gets round the problem of any sort of outside observer by claiming that “mathematical structures” are not made, they just exist, and humans, being “self-aware mathematical substructures”, give the “universe meaning” by virtue of having self-awareness. In short, humans do the observing, thus giving the universe meaning.

So Tegmark doesn’t really get round the problem we encountered in Day One, when we looked at the words “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” As we noted, there are only really three explanations of how the initial ‘material’ from which the universe and life were constructed arose: either we don’t know; or we simply claim that it has always been there; or we accept that someone or something put it there. And there seems to be no reason to suggest that if we describe the initial ‘material’ as a “mathematical structure” the mystery somehow goes away.

The second issue relates to the necessity for an observation. Tegmark cannot get round the issue by claiming that a “mathematical substructure” within the overall “mathematical structure” that is the universe, or multiverse, creates the “self-awareness” that gives the “universe meaning.” It is just another way of saying that humans do the observing.

Philo, on the other hand, sees the ‘mind’ of God behind the numbers: “And he [Moses] says that the world was made in six days, not because the Creator stood in need of a length of time…; but because the things created required arrangement; and number is akin to arrangement.”[7]

And this arrangement of numbers must have been the “incorporeal model” which formed the basis of what we see around us: “when [God] had determined to create this visible world, [He] previously formed that one which is perceptible only by the intellect, in order that so using an incorporeal model formed as far as possible on the image of God, he might then make this corporeal world, a younger likeness of the elder creation, which should embrace as many different genera perceptible to the external senses, as the other world contains of those which are visible only to the intellect.”[8]

The problem with Philo’s interpretation of Genesis is that it only works if we discount the possibility that the words “And God saw …” refer to the quantum phenomenon of an observation. But that would mean that the words “And God said …” and the words “And God saw …” are simply a duplication, or repetition, of the same phenomenon. But Genesis seems to have been written far too carefully for such a careless or superfluous duplication. The inclusion of the words “And God saw …” must have been deliberate, and significant.

So the most likely explanation is that Genesis is telling us that at the end of the six days, the ‘macro-world’ of galaxies, solar systems, stars and planets had all been “fully settled” as a consequence of the “irreversible effect” of an observation; an observation from a conscious outside observer – God.

That created the deterministic universe that is predictable, calculable, and explainable by the Classical laws of physics. As Rees says about his six numbers, “if any one of them were to be ‘untuned’, there would be no stars and no life.[9] So it is clear that the universe and life is dependent on the quantum phenomena of the micro-world transforming into the deterministic workings of the macro-world. Each step in the process was dependent on the previous step being “fully settled” – otherwise everything could be undone at some point in the future, just as happens in the delayed-choice experiments when an eraser device is inserted in front of the detector which should carry out the measurement, or observation.

And only Genesis provides such a model.

At this stage, the basic DNA structures, ‘modified’ or ‘programmed’ to transform into their intended life-forms, had also been created, but were still ‘dormant’. They needed the right kind of environment in order to be activated, and that included the need for water.

And that is what Genesis tells us they got: “there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”[10] That is what science asserts is the only way that primitive life could have ‘evolved’ into the higher life-forms we see today – liquid water appearing on earth.

However, before we move on to consider the rest of Chapters 2, we should also recall that  Genesis explains why it is that animals have a limited ability to ‘reason’ and communicate’, whereas humans have an advanced ability. And most important of all, we should recall that Genesis also explains how human beings acquired their moral capacity. History records humanity’s relentless quest to give expression to its moral purpose in the search for that thing which we call justice.

Chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis go back to the time of the ‘awakening’ of the ‘morality module’ in the first human beings who experienced 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 stories of The Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve, are the story of that ‘awakening’.

But again, we should take each of the verses in turn in order to fully comprehend their significance, and symbolism.

First we see that God is said to form man from the ground: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”[11]

Starting with an account of human beings, Genesis is clearly telling us that the account which follows concerns the highest of the species, and how it came to be what it became. But as we shall see, this does not mean that other life did not exist.

Furthermore, this verse does not suggest that the human it is referring to was a human in its final form, in the “image of God”. It clearly refers to the physical form of the first human being, or human beings – a form that has life, but not much different at this stage to animal life that would have existed simultaneously.

In other words, this verse is telling us that the DNA which was to form the human species as we know it had not yet been fully activated. This early species would certainly have had the primitive DNA with which “every living creature that moveth[12] had been ‘programmed’, and it would most certainly have had the primitive physical characteristics that would have made it recognizable as an early form of the species. But only a very select few of this early species had the latent DNA which had been ‘programmed’ with the additional elements referred to in Chapter 1 – that is, morality, reason, an ability to communicate, and the innate ‘knowledge and understanding’ of how the universe and life functions.

The next seven verses then focus in on the first of the species that had the latent DNA that was to become human beings as we know them.

Now before we look at the account of the Garden of Eden, let me first say this. In addressing the symbolic account, I do not discount the possibility that a literal place existed which formed the basis for the story. In fact, there must have been such a literal place where literal members of the early human species lived who would eventually become the ‘ancestors’ of the modern species. The Bible as a whole often takes literal events to convey deeper symbolic messages. Proverbs tells us that.[13] Not only can a historical event be used to convey a moral message, often the event is a result of the workings of the human brain which reveal which aspects of the human character have been the motivation for the event. Actual events can reveal whether those events were motivated by reason in the service of instinct, or reason in the service of morality.

However, we shall leave the search for such literal places and events to the archeologists and historians – but with the caveat that just because ‘evidence’ of such literal places and events have not yet been discovered does not mean that they don’t exist. Discoveries are constantly being made of things previously regarded as myth, fable or speculation, like our examples of life coming from space, and life existing without sunlight.

But before we move on, we should clarify one further aspect of the events recorded in Genesis 2. We should remember that at the end of the six days all the laws which would determine how the universe and life would unfold had been put in place. And according to Genesis, the unfolding, or implementation, of those laws reveals God’s will, because the laws are God’s laws. So when Genesis 2 refers to God doing something, or saying something, we should read that not as God Himself doing again what He had already done in the first six days, but as His law being implemented, thus revealing His will. In that sense, references to God saying or doing something in these Chapters are in fact God doing those things, but through the agency of the law He created which reveals His will. This is an important point to note in order to understand the verses which follow.

So let’s return to the symbolic message conveyed by the Garden of Eden.

First we have these two verses: “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.[14]

Philo says this about these verses: “And these statements appear to me to be dictated by a philosophy which is 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.[15]

However, when Philo refers to the “soul” having “innumerable opinions,” he would have better referred to the Garden of Eden as being the human brain, or at least the DNA which had been ‘programmed’ to produce a brain with the ability to conjure up such “opinions”.

The reference to God having “planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed”, far better symbolizes that DNA which had been ‘programmed’ with those elements described in Genesis Chapter 1, which would have been latent in some of the early species. And those of the early species with this latent human DNA must have been physically present in some place on the Earth. So God putting man into the garden must symbolize the first of the primitive human species in which the latent elements of the more advanced DNA which was to form the species “in the image of God” began to be activated. And that activation, which would have been gradual, is symbolized by the words “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.”

The important words in this verse which point to the Garden being the human brain are “out of the ground made the Lord God to grow …” Those words reflect the words used relating to the forming of man – “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground ….” So when the trees are made to “grow” out of “the ground”, it clearly implies the “the ground” that had been made “man”.

That wording wonderfully conjures up the image of those latent elements of human DNA developing the brains of the first human beings in whom it was found. And the “trees” perfectly correspond to those elements of that DNA which we discussed in Day Six – “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 ability of the human spirit to survive physical death. It should also be noted that the word “pleasant” is associated with the “trees”, symbolizing instinct: because, as we have seen, it is the allure of pleasure, or fear of pain, that fires our instincts into action.

However, all these elements of the human brain need some way to interact with the world of the external senses for them to have any significance. 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 can only kick-in 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 are what ‘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.”[16]

This verse very obviously refers to the nervous system of the human body which supplies the brain with the information it needs in order to act. And the reason it is so obvious is that 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. And as we have seen, the author/s of Genesis did not make careless errors.

So when we conceive of the Garden of Eden as referring to the human brain, and the river which flows fromEden to water the garden” as the human nervous system which ‘waters’ the brain by supplying it with the necessary information it requires in order to function, then the verse makes sense.

So what we have in these verses is an explanation of the first human beings in which the DNA developing the brain, which was ‘programmed’ with latent human characteristics, would give expression to those characteristics, and a description of the human nervous system which would feed the brain with the necessary information to allow it to develop those characteristics. And the information would be provided through the senses on the extremities of the body – the “four heads” of the river.

Verses 11 to 14 describe where these four heads of the river end up, and the references to what may have been physical places at the time would have been understood by the people at that time to make the connection between the places and the senses referred to. But for our purposes, the physical places are not important once we recognize that they refer to the senses and the nervous system which ‘waters’ the brain.

The next verse is curious, because we see God putting 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.[17] 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 previous occasion, he was just put in it.

This suggests that the human brain had now fully developed with all the necessary characteristics with which it had been ‘programmed’. The latent ‘genes’ had been activated, or as the Encode Project would say, had been ‘switched on’. But, as we shall see, not all were fully functioning. It was now the task of those human beings to develop those characteristics within the brain – “to dress it and keep it.

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.”[18]

Now, before we get into the meaning of these verses, we should note that the original Hebrew did not say “thou shalt surely die”, but “in dying thou shalt die”. This distinction is crucial, as we shall soon see.

So here we see the next difference with the second time God puts “man” into the garden. God is said to speak to him, or more properly, “commanded” him. And the word used to express the commanding of the “man” is that which was previously used in Genesis 1: 22 – “SAYING”. “God commanded the man, SAYING”. That is almost identical to the words in Genesis 1: 22, except that there God “blessed” the animals. And we should remember that the word “saying” symbolizes a lack of comprehension on the part of those ‘hearing’ the words, or at least a limited comprehension of the significance 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, was still dormant, or latent. Although it was physically present in the brain, it had not yet been activated. However, the words indicate that when the first humans would be ‘tempted’ to take some action that would offend against the moral precepts (principles) of the “morality module”, they would ‘know’ that what they were doing was wrong, and that there would be a consequence. So this first human, or these first humans, would have simply recognized certain things as wrong, without ‘rationalizing’ their actions as right or wrong. They would have intuitively found certain behavior of the species from whom they had emerged ‘wrong’, but as yet not be able to identify why. That is how they would have known themselves to be different. So whereas the species from whom they had emerged may have regarded killing, raping and pillaging of members of other tribes as something to admire and celebrate, these first humans would have felt not just unease at such actions, but revulsion. The same would apply to casual sexual practices and violence between members of even the same tribe or community.

The remarkable thing about the innocence that clearly defined these human beings before they succumbed to the temptations of their primitive instincts is that there are just such people alive today. They are the San people of Southern Africa, also known as the Bushmen. Anthropologists and geneticists identify some of these tribes as the ancestors of all human beings.

The next verses in Genesis explain the further development of these the first of the human species.

So we see God speaking again, but not to “man” directly: “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

Before we look at the meaning of these words, we should deal with another little bit of ‘housekeeping’ on translation. The original Hebrew for the word translated as “meet” was actually “as before him”. So the first verse in which the word is used should read “I will make him an help as before him.”

Now the first thing we should note is that God is said to have seen that the “man” was alone, and that it was “not good” that he should be alone. This suggests that of those of the species that had the fully ‘programmed’ human DNA, only a very few, or even just one, appeared to have survived. The rest must have died out.

And because of what follows, it is certain that Genesis is here focusing in on the first male, or males, of the species in whom the fully ‘programmed’ human DNA was present. But when Genesis refers to this first “man” being “alone”, it does not necessarily 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. But, as we have seen, the reason he would have been “alone” is that he would have recognized that he was in some fundamental respects very different to those around him. He was the first of the species with fully ‘programmed’ human DNA. Philo noted this when he said, in relation to the creation of man in the image of God, that “all the individuals of the race had not yet assumed their distinctive form; since the extreme species are contained in the genus.”[19] 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 who would have shared the fully ‘matured’ human DNA. To this first “man”, reproducing with what ostensibly would have been another ‘species’, would have seemed like bestiality.

This would have caused a great dilemma for him; and that dilemma would have caused frustration. But in doing so, it appears to have activated additional elements of the human characteristics with which his brain had been imprinted by the fully human DNA. Accordingly, the fact that the words follow the words “And the LORD God said …” must symbolize the law of God responding to the unnatural condition the first of the human species encountered – being “alone”, without another of the species with whom he could reproduce. Since that was contrary to the will of God as expressed in His law, those elements of the human organism were activated which would seek to rectify this unnatural condition. The symbolism of God speaking is the expression of God’s will through the law responding to the situation.

So the words “I will make him an help as before him” can only symbolize the activation of the ability to reason to a higher level, compelling this first human to examine the life around him in the hope of finding another living thing like him. The words “as before him” then make sense. He was seeking another like him so that together they could be as the species before him – that is, joining together with the opposite gender to create new life, and so perpetuate the new species.

However, by looking differently at all the life about him, this first human appeared to activate another latent characteristic of the brain ‘programmed’ with human DNA – the language module. These verses clearly refer to the activation of the innate human ability to communicate – Adam started naming the animals. And that would also have led to a limited activation of the innate ‘knowledge and understanding’ programmed into the human brain by human DNA. That is symbolized by Genesis saying that God formed out of the ground the animals that were brought to Adam. This all suggests that as Adam realized he was different, he began a search for a companion so that this new species could be as the species was before – a community. And in his search he began to ascribe sounds to represent the different species he encountered. But it also suggests that in doing so he began to question where they all came from, and indeed where he came from. And all of this is the result of God’s law reacting to the situation through the vehicle of the human brain in order to give expression to God’s will. It is this expression of God’s will that is symbolized by God ‘speaking’ – He is speaking through His law in order to express His will: the creation of an organism in His “image”.

But Adams’s search proved futile: “but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” Or, with the correct translation, “there was not found an help as before him.” This first of the species found that he was alone, the first of a kind, different to everything around him. It is also these closing words that give confirmation to the fact that these verses in which the animals are ‘made’ and brought to Adam to be named, symbolize the activation of certain elements ‘programmed’ into the human brain by human DNA – the words show that what preceded was a quest for something which did not come to fruition, at least not fully – a help for Adam as was before him.

So it seems that this first of the human species must have settled for one of those around him, even though they would have been a different ‘species’ in some major respects. And so this 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.”[20]

There then follow these verses:

“ And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”[21]

The symbolism of “Adam” going into a deep sleep means that the fully formed human DNA he was carrying around would have been passed through several generations while remaining dormant. So a number of the pre-human species may well have had this dormant DNA, or at least dormant genes within that DNA, as part of their genetic make-up, but it did not manifest itself as a human species for some time. Then, by a coincidence of probabilities, the dormant DNA was activated in both a male and female of the species at the same time, and those two would have been in close physical proximity, perhaps even within the same tribe or community.

And immediately they recognized each other as being different from the species around them, and virtual mirror-images of each other, except one was male and the other female. As Philo said, “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.”[22]

The human species was finally to begin propagating. And the effect of this mutual recognition was that some element of the “morality module” was activated: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”[23]

These two of the emerging new species, human beings, were aware that the new life they would create by joining together in a physical relationship would be unique, exclusive and special; in their image and likeness. And that, they understood, imposed on them fundamental obligations towards each other, and the life they would create. 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 to become one flesh, require that they forsake any and all other relationships. Like the new life they create, their relationship should also be unique, exclusive and special – for the benefit of the new life they create.

But clearly, there is also another meaning to the words “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother.” These first two of the early human species would have been aware that they were different even to their own parents, and that required that they leave the community from which they came, including their own ancestors.

However, at this stage, there would still have been an innocence about them. Only a small element of the “morality module” had been activated – that element which compelled them to recognize the fundamental nature of their relationship to the exclusion of others, and the obligations which would attach to them by virtue of creating new life – becoming “one flesh.”

That is the message in the next verse: “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.

And the San people mentioned above have precisely the kind of innocence we are talking about here. For the most part, the San people resisted the impulse to activate the “morality module”. They were content to listen to the “voice” of the “moral law”, whereas another branch of the species chose to challenge that “voice”.

It is this branch of the species that Genesis addresses in Chapter 3, represented by Adam and Eve.

And that will be the focus of the next and final abridged extract of A ‘Final Theory’ of God.

By Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2014 All Rights Reserved

 

[1] Philo, On the Creation, XLIV (129).

[2] Tegmark, Max. Our Mathematical Universe, page 254 – Tegmark’s emphasis.

[3] Tegmark, page 323.

[4] Tegmatk, page 391 – Tegmark’s emphasis.

[5] Tegmark, page 259.

[6] Tegmark, page 323.

[7] Philo, On the Creation, III (13).

[8] Philo, On the Creation, IV (16).

[9] Rees, Martin. Just Six Numbers, page 4.

[10] Genesis 2: 6.

[11] Genesis 2: 7.

[12] Genesis 1: 21.

[13] Proverbs 1: 1 – 7.

[14] Genesis 2: 8 – 9.

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

[16] Genesis 2: 10.

[17] Genesis 2: 15.

[18] Genesis 2: 16 – 17.

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

[20] Genesis 2: 21.

[21] Genesis 2: 22 – 24.

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

[23] Genesis 2: 24.

Philosophical Origins of the Modern Liberal Fundamentalist State – Part I

Like everything else in life, all philosophy can be reduced to simple analogy.

I shall demonstrate this by reference to those philosophers who have had the most dramatic impact on the way we think and behave today.

Jeremy Bentham (1784 – 1832)

Few people outside of academia will have heard of Bentham, never mind understand how much influence his ‘thinking’ has had on their lives.

Bentham traveled back in time to the Garden of Eden, there to dig up the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and plant in its place the tree of pleasure and pain. And it is of this tree that Adam and Eve ate, claims Bentham.

“Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.” Pain and pleasure, claims Bentham, determine what we ought to do, what is right and wrong, what we say, and how we behave. He acknowledges that he cannot prove this, but claims that is because “that which is used to prove everything else, cannot itself be proved.” Convenient!

So Bentham claimed that he had discovered the philosophical calculator, or what he called “felicific calculus” – happy arithmetic. Punch in the data, and out pops the answer. This is Bentham’s “principle of utility” – every action is determined by “the tendency it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question,” and that is done by adding to “the sum total of his pleasure,” and diminishing the “sum total of his pains.”

Now if Bentham were true to his thesis, even pain should be capable of producing pleasure. Some people sacrifice and endure pain because it relieves their consciences; others because they derive a kind of pleasure from starving themselves of pleasure for what they consider some higher calling, or for the benefit others may derive from their sacrifice; others will even sacrifice their own lives for the benefit of others, or simply because they cannot face another day of their high pleasure diet. In short, Bentham could simply have said that all actions are selfish.

But he couldn’t do that. If he did, his “felicific” calculator would not work: punch in 2 and up pops 4; punch in 4 and up pops 3. Suddenly we have a hall of mirrors. So Bentham simply declares that any principle which differs from his “principle of utility” must “necessarily be a wrong one.”

He identifies two wrong ones: “asceticism” and “sympathy and antipathy.” The former are religious people who court pain as a matter of “merit and duty” because of the “narrowness of their intellect,” and those who want to cleanse themselves from “the sordes of their impure original.” The latter are those who approve or disapprove of actions because of their own prejudices.

Bentham didn’t seem to recognize the irony in identifying these ‘exceptions’ to his principle. If there are people who do not always seek to maximize pleasure, and some who even court pain, then mankind cannot be under the “governance” of pleasure and pain as Bentham defines it.

But that does not deter Bentham. Instead of re-evaluating his “principle of utility,” he simply says that those who do not respect it “must always be regulated” to prevent them “doing mischief.” And they must be regulated by his “principle of utility.”

And this ‘regulation’ must be done by government: “the business of government is to promote the happiness of society, by punishing and rewarding.”

So Bentham hands government two electrodes: one to infuse pleasure; the other to inflict pain. Thus government compels everyone to be happy. Use of the electrodes is determined by the “effect” actions have on others pursuing their pleasure. Sometimes it is necessary to modify behavior by applying the pleasure electrode to infuse a “disposition” for the kind of pleasure that has a “tendency” to be less harmful to the pleasure of other, while the pain electrode should be applied to those who seriously malfunction – those who simply cannot get enough pleasure, irrespective of the “consequences” to others.

If Bentham’s analysis were purely academic, it could be almost entertaining. Unfortunately, it is the model of the modern democratic state. The right to “the pursuit of happiness” is even enshrined in the United States Declaration of Independence. And Western government and society are slaves to the pursuit of pleasure – as long as it does not harm others, of course.

The ‘harm principle’ which has emerged from the “principle of utility” dictates virtually every aspect of modern life, and has defined modern ‘morality’. ‘Morality’ is a function of pleasure; everything and anything which enhances pleasure is good, as long as it does not “harm” others; and everything and anything which inhibits the indulgence of pleasure is bad. Bentham’s contempt for ‘morality’ is the staple of today’s society: “we see the emptiness of all those rhapsodies of commonplace morality, which consist in the taking of such names as lust, cruelty, and avarice, and branding them with marks of reprobation.”

Thus, for decades, we have been showered with “studies” and “research” which ‘prove’ that this or that action, or this or that indulgence, does not cause “harm”. Or “studies” which show that inhibiting certain indulgences does cause “harm” to those who want to engage in them. To put it crudely, ‘morality’ today means doing whatever gives you a kick, as long as it does not ‘hurt’ someone else.

Now on the face of it, who could object to that? The problem is that we know little, if anything, of the consequences of defining human beings as nothing more than creatures in search of pleasure. What we do know is that modern Western society is plagued by a myriad of ailments. Divorce is soaring; juvenile delinquency is out of control; crime is commonplace; drug and alcohol abuse is rampant; teenage single mothers are a dime a dozen; venereal disease is as common as the common cold; and so we could go on. Yet, we do not question whether the ‘philosophy’ of modern society may be the problem; a ‘philosophy’ which has it origins in Bentham’s “principle of utility.” Instead, we call on government to wield the electrodes more, especially the pain electrode, in the hope that government can “regulate” us out of the mess. So humans are being reduced to a species lower than Pavlov’s dogs, except government does not wield a bell to make us salivate, it wields Bentham’s electrodes.

Bentham’s claim that man is governed by pleasure and pain, and must therefore always seek to maximize pleasure, is the same thing as saying that because a car consumes fuel, its sole purpose and use is to consume as much fuel as possible. He cannot conceive that a car may have a purpose other than the consumption of fuel.

Neither can he conceive that this relentless consumption of fuel may release harmful emissions into the atmosphere which may, in the end, see the demise of the car entirely, and the destruction of the environment as we know it.

But at least in respect of carbon emissions we have started questioning the true effects; we haven’t even started questioning the true effects of the relentless pursuit of pleasure.

John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873)

Bentham’s “principle of utility” has been ‘refined’ by others. Mill, for example, argued that intellectual and aesthetic pleasures should be accorded more weight than purely sensual pleasures. That’s like arguing that a car consuming high-octane fuel is preferable to a car consuming regular fuel.

Philo (20B.C. – 40A.D.)

Bentham was not original in claiming that man is governed by pleasure and pain. Philo had the pleasure advocates in his day, and predicted others, such as Bentham.

Now when I talk about Philo, I don’t mean the character played by Clint Eastwood in the film Every Which Way But Loose. I mean Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Egypt, who lived at about the same time as Christ, although there is no evidence that they ever met each other.

It is appropriate here to bring in Philo because he specifically talks about the Garden of Eden, which is where I started with Bentham.

In explaining the significance of Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Philo says this about the serpent that tempted Eve. “And the serpent is said to have spoken in 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.”

Now what I find particularly interesting about Philo is his explanation about the origins of pleasure. He says that animals “pursue pleasure only in taste and in the acts of generation,” that is, for reproduction. So it was with man, he says, until he succumbed to the serpent.

Philo explains it this way. “Now, the first approaches of the male to the female have a pleasure in them which brings on other pleasures also, and it is through this pleasure that the formation and generation of children is carried on. And what is generated by [pleasure] appears to be attached to nothing rather than to it[self], since they rejoice in pleasure, and are impatient at pain, which is its contrary.”

Philo is saying that man was once exactly like an animal, reproducing to ensure the survival of the species. Generally, animals instinctively reproduce at predetermined times and even places. Man, on the other hand, can and does reproduce at any time. But most importantly, man has the ability to reflect on the reasons for reproducing, the consequences, and the obligations that attach to, and arise from, the act of reproduction. Man has the ability to weigh in the balance the instinctive drive to reproduce, and the pleasure to be derived from it, against the consequences of the act. Humans can ask themselves whether they should engage in the act with this person, or at this time of their lives. They can ask themselves whether they should engage in the act of reproduction with only one person, or should they simply satisfy their desire for the pleasure derived from the act, irrespective of the number of people involved. And it is the ability to reflect on these questions which gives rise to what we call ‘obligations’, and what we call ‘morality’.

That is the fundamental distinction between Bentham and Philo. For Bentham, mankind is simply driven on by the pursuit of pleasure like a paper bag in a hurricane.

Philo sees this enhanced perception as an opportunity for man to rise above pleasure which, he says, if pursued for no purpose other than itself, is “more miserable than death.”

Philo warns that “those who have previously become the slaves of pleasure immediately receive the wages of this miserable and incurable passion.”

It is this ability to harness pleasure, and the ability it brings to designate acts as good or bad, that defines man, and differentiates him from beasts.

So Philo would have seen that a car does have a purpose other than the consumption of fuel. He would even have noticed that the consumption of fuel for no other purpose than the consumption of fuel would cause harm to the environment. Philo had the benefit of witnessing the unrestrained pursuit of pleasure by the Romans of his day; a passion for pleasure which ultimately led to their downfall.

Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804)

Kant can be summed up like this: he would have noticed that cars do not simply consume fuel for the sake of consuming fuel; sometimes they slow down, and even stop, consuming less fuel; he would have noticed that there are signs which seem to have this effect on cars, and that these signs are mostly obeyed because of fear of the police.

What Kant claimed to have discovered is a moral faculty in man. He claimed that man is conscious of a “moral law” through reason, and that the ‘impulse’ to conform to this “moral law” is not through some “intervening feeling of pleasure and pain,” or even “intuition,” but through “the concept of freedom.”

This is how Kant sums it up: “these laws are only possible in relation to freedom of the will; but freedom being supposed, they are necessary; or conversely freedom is necessary because those laws are necessary, being practical postulates. It cannot be further explained how this consciousness of the moral law, or, what is the same thing, of freedom, is possible.” Perhaps Kant should have called his book on the subject A Critique of Pure Impractical Reason.

Kant’s “moral law” can be explained like this: the “law” part = freedom = freedom to choose; the “moral” part = good and evil. So the “moral law” means we are free to choose between good and evil. Using the motor car analogy, Kant is saying that there are signs (laws) which, if obeyed, make a good driver, but that we are free to obey them or not, and face the consequences. This is what he says: “There is something so singular in the unbounded esteem for the pure moral law [the road signs], apart from all advantage, as it is presented for our obedience by practical reason [freedom], the voice of which makes even the boldest sinner tremble [the police], and compels him to hide himself from it ..”

Obeying the signs defines a “person himself as a good or evil man.”

Now Kant does not advocate renouncing pleasure altogether, but only that when “duty [to obey the moral law] is in question we should take no account of happiness.” Using the car analogy again, all Kant is saying is that consuming as much fuel as possible is good, except when we come across a sign; then we should obey the sign, even if that means we don’t consume any fuel.

And that, thought Kant, is the purpose of a car – consume as much fuel as possible, except when obeying a sign means we should slow down, or stop: a kind of Utilitarian Buddhism.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

Nietzsche believed that only one kind of car mattered: the powerful, fast and glitzy sports car. All other cars are “common” – “similar, ordinary, average, herdlike.” They are all “mediocre.” Or at least that is the general consensus.

That is Nietzsche’s “will to power.” He despaired at the trend toward universal similarity; the creation of a dull world – “this degeneration and diminution of man into the perfect herd animal … into the dwarf animal of equal rights and claims.” Nietzsche did not want a world where everyone drives around in a Trabant, scrupulously obeying the signs, terrified that they may have an accident. He hated the “imperative of herd timidity: [that] we want that some day there should be nothing more to be afraid of!”

At least Nietzsche acknowledges that he has no idea of a car’s purpose. But since we have them, he says, we might as well have the most powerful, the fastest, and the most aesthetically pleasing, not one of those ordinary cars without style, with plastic seats, chugging along on a puny diesel engine.

And Nietzsche doesn’t care about carbon emissions.

Yet Nietzsche would be the first to acknowledge that his “will to power” is only his “interpretation.” The genius of Nietzsche is his observation that everything is “interpretation, not text,” especially when it comes to philosophy. In that he agrees with the Preacher in Ecclesiastes: “[God] hath set the world in [man’s] heart, so that no man can find the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” [Eccl 3:11], and “though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it” [Eccl 8:17].

Because we cannot, or have not yet, identified a discernible purpose for mankind being on this earth, says Nietzsche, we simply make up the rules as we go along. But sooner or later someone will come along to throw all these rules out the window, and impose his own tyrannical rules. Nietzsche says this: “It is interpretation, not text; and somebody might come along who, with opposite intentions and modes of interpretation, could read out of the same ‘nature’, and with regard to the same phenomena, rather the tyrannical inconsiderate and relentless enforcement of claims of power – an interpreter who would picture the unexceptional and unconditional aspects of ‘will to power’ so vividly that almost every word, even the word ‘tyranny’ itself, would eventually seem unsuitable, or a weakening and attenuating metaphor – being too human – but he might, nevertheless, end by asserting the same about this world as you do, namely, that it has a ‘necessary’ and ‘calculable’ course, not because laws obtain in it, but because they are lacking, and every power draws its ultimate consequences at every moment. Supposing that this also is only interpretation – and you will be eager enough to make this objection? – well, so much the better.”

Nietzsche was right, of course! We’ve had Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and now the likes of Al Qaeda. And there will be more. Ironically, though, the greatest danger stems from our so-called democratic institutions. The prospect of such a tyrannical “interpreter” gives government license to wield Bentham’s electrodes with ever greater enthusiasm and urgency. So we see a proliferation of laws to “regulate” us into discarding our ‘prejudices’ so that some day we shall have “nothing more to be afraid of!” – except, perhaps, our own ‘tyrannical’ governments?

But government has to protect us, we are told, not just from the tyrannical “interpreter”, but also from our own predilection for causing ourselves harm; especially through carbon emissions. And that brings me to Albert Schweitzer.

Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965)

Before I have every ‘philosopher’ screaming at me that Schweitzer is not a philosopher, let me acknowledge that. His existential tendencies, it seems, banished him from that exclusive club.

He said this: “In this world we can discover nothing of any purposive evolution in which our actions can acquire meaning.” So he agrees with Nietzsche and the Preacher on that.

But he claims that our “will to live” comes to the rescue. “As in my own will-to-live there is a longing for wider life and for the mysterious exaltation of the will-to-live which we call pleasure, with dread of annihilation and of the mysterious depreciation of the will-to-live which we call pain; so is it also in the will-to-live all around me, whether it can express itself before me, or remains dumb.

“Ethics consists, therefore, in my experiencing the compulsion to show all will-to-live the same reverence as I do to my own. There we have given us that basic principle of the moral which is a necessity of thought. It is good to maintain and encourage life; it is bad to destroy life or obstruct it.”

This is how Schweitzer describes “reverence for life” man: “Life as such is sacred to him. He tears no leaf from a tree, plucks no flower, and takes care to crush no insect.”

So Schweitzer wants us to fill our cars with unleaded fuel, take care not to splatter insects on the windscreen, and not drive over grass.

That, for Schweitzer, is the purpose of a car because, he says, we can never discover any other purpose.

So Schweitzer, even if he isn’t a ‘philosopher’, rounds off the ‘thinking’ that influences us today – consciously or unconsciously. An inspiration for the environmentalists, the greens, and even the animal rights brigade.

Conclusion

These ‘philosophers’, together with those who have ‘refined’ and expanded on their ‘thinking’, have thus defined modern Western ‘morality’. A ‘morality’ that is an amalgam of the pursuit of pleasure tempered by the ‘harm principle’, environmentalism, banishment of prejudice (for which read – those who do not subscribe to the accepted norms of political ideology), and the quest for safety, all held together by Bentham’s electrodes.

Yet this amalgam doesn’t identify the purpose of a car – it describes dodgem cars at a fair ground. And it has created the modern Liberal Fundamentalist state!

Furthermore, it has also created modern Logo Man – Nietzsche’s herd man with a brand. Life only has meaning in proportion to the accumulation of Logo’s: more Logos, more happiness.

And since we labor under the fiction that we agree to be governed by the majority, the majority is easily manipulated, by appealing to their ‘will-to-vanity’, into believing that the pursuit of Logos is the pinnacle of civilization – and ‘studies’ prove that!

That we ‘consent’ to be governed by the majority is again, not surprisingly, another philosophical ‘waste product’.

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2007 All Rights Reserved

 

Perspectives on the Scriptures: Genesis Day Six – ‘Programming’ Human DNA: Morality, Reason and Instinct

What we saw in Day Five was the start of the re-establishment of the principles of quantum physics which had been subsumed into the Classical laws in the previous Days.

That statement may require some clarification.

We should recall that the first three Days of Genesis explained how the laws of quantum physics “morphed” into the deterministic, ordered and predictable world of Classical physics, giving us the physical universe of inanimate objects we see all around us; a world of physical objects lacking the kind of ‘freedom’ of choice inherent in the quantum laws of physics.

But when we get to Day Five, we find that animals are said to be ‘programmed’ with a limited ability to make choices. But that ‘freedom’ is limited to applying reason to service their primitive instincts.

And now, when we get to Day Six, and human beings, we see the ‘freedom’ inherent in the quantum laws being fully reinstated.

But first, Day Six deals with a continuation of the creation of animals that started in Day Five.

Verses 24 and 25 again have the three-stage ‘creation’. First, there are the words “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

Second comes the actual ‘making’ of those things – “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: …”

And third, we have the words “and God saw that it was good.” We have an observation.

However, there appears to be a major omission here; the words “And God blessed them, saying, …” do not appear. The reason for that ‘omission’ is that the life which emerges from “the earth” is a continuation of the life that was created in Day Five. But by putting this element of the creation into the same “day” as the creation of human DNA, clearly Genesis is telling us that some of the DNA that had been ‘programmed’ in Day Five had in fact been ‘programmed’ to manifest itself at a later stage, closer to when the DNA that was to become the human genome was ‘programmed’ to emerge.

In other words, the ‘programming’ of the DNA that was to become the ‘land animals’ was actually done in Day Five, but could only manifest itself in the form intended once it encountered the right kind of land environment. That is made clear by the words “And God created … every living creature that moveth …” in verse 21 of Day Five. That would have included what was to become the basic DNA of all animals.

So including the creation of “the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind …” in Day Six, demonstrates that those creatures would emerge shortly before human beings.

Then come human beings, and we find these well known verses.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [Genesis 1: 26]

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” [Genesis 1: 27]

The first obvious point to note is the words “Let us make man …” There is still the expression of an intended objective, but these words are very different to the preceding ‘creation’. Days One and Two had the words “Let there be …” Those words signified a qualitative change in matter and energy which already existed. Day Three then has the words “Let the watersbe gathered together …” and “Let the earth bring forth …” These words signify a manipulation of what had resulted from the qualitative change to matter and energy in Days One and Two. Day Four then reverts to the words “Let there be …” As we have seen, Day Four is a sort of duplication of Day One, but in the microcosm of our solar system.

Then Day Five and the first part of Day Six revert to the words found in Day Three – “Let the waters …” and “Let the earth …” Again, as we have seen, these words signify a transformation of the pre-existing DNA so as to accommodate itself to the environment that would emerge on Earth.

But in the case of “man,” the situation is very different. By creating man “in the image of God” it is clear that the ‘accommodation’, in the first instance, is not to the environment but to God Himself. In other words, “man” was ‘intended’ to have a purpose beyond simply an ability to “Be fruitful, and multiply”. When the author/s of Genesis described “man” as being ‘created’ in “the image” of their Creator, clearly they intended to impart the idea that “man” would assume responsibility for those matters over which God Himself would otherwise have had power, and that “man” would be endowed with the ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ to carry out those responsibilities which were being assigned to them – if they chose to make use of that ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ for the purpose intended.

As we shall see, the “image of God” in these verses thus clearly refers to “man” being ‘programmed’ with a moral aptitude. But this is not some kind of flexible ability to adapt moral perceptions to new environments; it is a set of absolute moral principles which are being ‘imprinted’ into the DNA, which would determine the structure of the human brain, or mind. Those moral principles, as we shall see, are humanity’s moral compass which enables human beings to chart their moral destiny.

They act as a ‘window’ into God’s Law, and God’s will.

So let’s dissect verse 26 into its various parts. First we need to consider the opening words – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

This is what Philo says about those words: “So then after all the other things, as has been said before, Moses says that man was made in the image and likeness of God. And he says well; for nothing that is born on the earth is more resembling God than man. And let no one think that he is able to judge of this likeness from the characters of the body: for neither is God a being with the form of a man, nor is the human body like the form of God; but 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.”[1]

So, according to Philo, the “image of God” relates to the mind, or we should better say today, the brain. But Philo goes further. He asserts that this “image” imprinted in the brain, or mind, is a manifestation of the entire creation. This is what he says: “Accordingly he [Moses], when recording the creation of man, in words which follow, asserts expressly, that he was made in the image of God–and if the image be a part of the image, then manifestly so is the entire form, namely, the whole of this world perceptible by the external senses, which is a greater imitation of the divine image than the human form is.[2]

But we should be careful not to construe the brain (mind) as a whole as the “image of God,” because, as we shall see, parts of the brain are also used for other purposes – purposes, moreover, as far removed from anything resembling morality as we could get.

So we are really talking about some element of the make-up of the brain that reflects what the Creator wanted it to reflect. It’s like a painter. First, he or she ‘sees’ an ‘image’ of some feeling or thought they want to portray. They want to express part of something within themselves. So they first get all their materials ready and mixed, prepare the canvas, then they apply the brush strokes. The resulting ‘image’ is an expression of something within themselves; expressed in the physical form of a painting. The physical painting is the ‘likeness’ of the original ‘image’, whereas the sentiment expressed in the painting is the ‘image’ of the inner-most stirrings of the artist.

And we see something similar in Genesis. Each stage of ‘creation’ starts with an expression of an intention – “And God said …

Then there follows the actual ‘doing’ or ‘carrying out’ of the intention – “And there was light,” … “And God made …,” … “and it was so;” … “And the Earth brought forth …;” and so on.

And finally, God observes what has been created, and gives it His seal of approval – “And God saw that it was good.”

It is this latter wording that brings the laws of physics and the laws of morality together. The final convergence of the various intentions, makings and observations, culminate in the reflection of the Creator who initiated the whole process. The entire ‘creation’ was an unfolding of certain laws that would, in their final incarnation, reflect the expressed intention of God – something that encompasses “good”.

In other words, the universe is an expression of God’s Will which reveals itself in the laws of physics – or, according to Genesis, God’s laws. And the ultimate manifestation of that will, and those laws, is a human organism, or in this case, the DNA which would become the physical form of a human being. However, the ultimate manifestation of God’s Will and God’s law is limited to that part of the human mind that is endowed with the laws of morality. The “image of God” is thus reflected in some physical structure within the human brain – and it is that physical structure that reveals the “likeness” of God.

Many other verses of the Bible confirm the idea that God’s Law, or God’s Kingdom, is part of the human mind. Deuteronomy declares that the commandments which are 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.[3]

And Christ said: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.[4]

Even the “Gentiles” are so ‘programmed’ according to the apostle Paul: “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].”[5]

But in the Genesis account of the creation of “man” in the “image of God,” there is an even more powerful indication in these verses that the “image” refers to morality. And that is found in the remarkable way that Genesis introduces the plural when it comes to the creation of “man.” The words are these: “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: and let THEM

That expression of ‘intention’ is then put into effect with these words: “So God created man in HIS own image, in the image of God created he HIM; MALE and FEMALE created he THEM.

So in the expression of ‘intention’ we have reference to the plural when God says “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness …”, whereas when it comes to actually ‘creating’ the “man”, it reverts, in the first instance, to the singular – “So God created man in HIS OWN image, in the image of GOD created he HIM …”

Philo says this about those verses: “very beautifully after he had called the whole race ‘man,’ did he distinguish between the sexes, saying, that ‘they were created male and female.’”[6]

Male and female created HE THEM.”

At the very heart of any notion of morality lies the relationship between two people, a man and a woman, and their joining together to create new life – a new human being which is in their genetic ‘image and likeness’. Only an imbecile would claim that the act of creating and bringing into this world a new human life does not attach any obligations to the two people who, by their own voluntary act, create new human life.

Even the Arch-Utilitarian John Stuart Mill said this about the creation of new human life: “It is not in the matter of education only, that misplaced notions of liberty prevent moral obligations on the part of parents from being recognised, and legal obligations from being imposed, where there are the strongest grounds for the former always, and in many cases for the latter also. The fact itself, of causing the existence of a human being, is one of the most responsible actions in the range of human life. To undertake this responsibility – to bestow a life which may be either a curse or a blessing – unless the being on whom it is bestowed will have at least the ordinary chances of a desirable existence, is a crime against that being.”[7]

Now, at first sight it may be tempting to link the words “male and female” to the words “Let us make …”, and conclude that the latter words mean that God had a female partner, or even that God Himself was ‘male’. But the words preceding “male and female”, as we have seen, revert to the singular when referring to God, and indeed “man” – “in the image of God created HE (God) HIM (man); …” Only then come the words “male and female created he (God)  them (male and female).”

But this all begins to make sense when we recognize that the “image and likeness” of God refers to the manifestation of God’s will in a universe governed by the laws God put in place to determine how it functions. That has been the message of Genesis since the start.

So the distinction between the sexes when it comes to human beings must have a moral significance. Animals also reproduce, in the main by male and female joining together, but Genesis does not refer to animals being created male and female anywhere in Days Five or Six.

We also see that Christ said that the concept of “male and female” is something integral to the laws which constitute the universe itself. When tempted by the Pharisees about divorce, Christ replied: “Have you not read, that which he [God] made them AT THE BEGINNING made them male and female, And said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. … Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but FROM THE BEGINNING it was not so.[8]

So the Biblical interpretation, even through the New Testament, clearly links the words “male and female” to a fundamental moral principle which was established “from the beginning.”

So what exactly does use of the plural mean in verse 26 – because it is the only place that it is found in Genesis in respect of God creating anything?

The answer must lie in the various means God is said to employ in the creation.

As we have seen, Genesis starts with “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Everything that was to be created thereafter was to come from these two things – in scientific terminology, matter and space.

But to transform the ‘material’ that was there at the beginning, God is said to have employed His spirit – “And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

The third element comes in God ‘speaking’ – “And God said …” We should note that this wording is different from the first words of Genesis which simply say “God created …

Psalm 33 puts it this way: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”[9]

So what we see is that when it comes to the creation of “man”, ALL the methods God employed in the creation of the universe are brought to bear – God Himself, the “spirit of God”, and the “word of God” as reflected in the words “And God said …”

In the Christian tradition this is called the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

Philo has a slightly different interpretation of the use of the plural in this verse. His argument is that since God can only create that which is “good”, and since certain elements of human nature are not “good”, God had to resort to others when it came to creating those elements of human nature. He says this: “It is on this account that Moses says, at the creation of man alone that God said, “Let us make man,” which expression shows an assumption of other beings to himself as assistants, in order that God, the governor of all things, might have all the blameless intentions and actions of man, when he does right attributed to him; and that his other assistants might bear the imputation of his contrary actions. For it was fitting that the Father should in the eyes of his children be free from all imputation of evil; and vice and energy in accordance with vice are evil.”[10]

Philo does not say who he thinks God’s “other assistants” might be.

I do not consider Philo’s interpretation of these words to be correct, because, as we shall see, what Philo considers are those elements of human nature that tend to ‘evil’ or ‘vice’ are not in themselves ‘wrong’. In fact, they are essential for human survival: they are human instinct, and human reason. It is only when reason is applied to service those instincts in violation of the “moral law” that the actions become ‘wrong’, or ‘evil’. And when it comes to ‘programming’ human DNA with reason and instincts, God is not said to have resorted to “other assistants” – He does it Himself.

So we see that the final manifestation of all these ‘elements’ of God being brought together in the final act of creation is not a physical man and a physical woman, but the “image of God” as “male and female” – “male and female” representing the moral nature of what human DNA was being endowed with. The “image and likeness” of God can only thus refer to a moral law being embedded into human DNA, and “male and female” representing the very origin and heart of morality.

As we shall see, the Ten Commandments speak to precisely such a foundation to the moral principles they enunciate. Man free of the authority or “bondage” of his fellow man, subject only to the laws of God, and the joining together of a man and a woman to create new human life as the foundation of all other moral principles.

The “male and female” as the foundation of all other moral principles is best put by Philo when he considers the Fifth Commandment – “Honour thy father and thy mother.”[11] He puts it this way: “The nature of one’s parents appears to be something on the confines between immortal and mortal essences. Of mortal essence, on account of their relationship to men and also to other animals, and likewise of the perishable nature of the body. And of immortal essence, by reason of the similarity of the act of generation to God the Father of the universe.”[12]

But then, the question is whether science recognizes such a ‘programming’ of human DNA, and thus the human brain, with any such moral precepts?

And the answer is yes, although neuroscience is still in its infancy when it comes to this element of human DNA and the brain.

IVF pioneer, Sir Robert Winston, says that the human brain has “a sort of ‘morality module’ … that is activated at an early age. Evidence from neuroscience would back this up, to a degree.”[13]

But if the human brain has such a “morality module”, then it is clear that it is an integral part of human DNA, and human DNA is the product of the fundamental laws of physics, which in turn are determined by the properties of fundamental particles, which themselves are subject to the laws of quantum mechanics.

As we have seen, Weinberg says this about DNA: “no one doubts that with a large enough computer we could in principle explain all the properties 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.[14]

The genetic makeup of human DNA is thus an ‘image’ of the laws of physics, and more particularly, the properties of fundamental particles. And the properties of fundamental particles are determined by quantum mechanics – probability, and observation.

So if, as Winston claims, the human brain has embedded within it a “morality module,” that module is an expression of those laws which determined the physical structure of the brain itself. But more remarkably, it is an expression of those fundamental laws of physics, or some core part of those laws, not in terms of numbers and equations, but in terms of moral principles that we can ‘see’ in terms of words.

Genesis thus plots for us the process that established the universe we see around us, as well as the process which enables us to ‘see around us’ in the first place. But it also plots the process by which we are able to ‘see within ourselves’ – to ‘see’ the moral foundation of the universe, and the “moral law” in whose image we are created. And that “moral law” is embedded into the human brain as a “morality module”; a module that is the final manifestation of the fundamental laws which created it, and which it is.

That is why we can no more create the laws of morality than we create the laws of physics; we can only discover them. And the reason is that they are the same thing. An expression of God’s will in the form of fundamental principles and laws.

And even if we leave God out of the picture, any “morality module” can only be the manifestation of the fundamental laws of physics, which means that the final manifestation of those laws must be moral.

The argument that we ‘invent’ moral principles to adapt to our social environment can’t get around the problem, because that must mean that human DNA must have known that it should prepare itself with a moral aptitude (and genes) to prepare to adapt to the social environment it may “encounter downstream”. Humanity’s relentless quest for justice speaks to a moral stirring within human beings to express the moral law which is embedded within the brain.

So again, the only difference between science and Genesis is whether human morality, like the universe and life itself, is some improbable cosmic aberration of no special significance, or whether it is central to human existence as being a manifestation of the will and law of a Creator.

Although this moral dimension to the creation of “man” is, of course, central to the creation process, it is not the whole story.

The second part of the ‘intention’ expressed in verse 26 is this: “and let them [humans] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

However, when this stated intention is put into effect, we have wording that we have not seen before. In the case of the creation of life in Day Five, after the stated ‘intention’, we have the actual making of what was ‘intended’: “And God created great whales etc ….” Thereafter we have the words “And God Blessed them SAYING …” And we saw in the analysis of Day Five that such wording symbolized the ‘programming’ of animal DNA with a limited capacity to reason and communicate, and the basic instincts animals needed to survive and perpetuate.

In the case of humans, there is a subtle but fundamental difference.

After “man” is created in God’s “image”, and created “male and female”, which, as we have seen, symbolizes human DNA being ‘programmed’ with a “morality module”, we have these words: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every thing that moveth upon the earth.”[15]

The crucial words have been highlighted in bold.

First, we should note the difference in how God is said to ‘speak’ to animals and humans. In the case of animals, Genesis uses the word “SAYING”, whereas in the case of humans (“male and female”) the words used are “UNTO THEM”. The words “unto them” clearly imply a greater level of understanding between the one doing the speaking (God) and those He is speaking to (“male and female” – humans).

So the first thing these words clearly symbolize is human DNA being ‘programmed’ with a considerably higher ability to ‘reason’, as well as a considerably higher degree of communication skills. Talking to someone is very different to simply saying something. As we saw in the example given in respect of Day Five, one version is like ‘saying’ something to your pet, whereas the other is like talking to your children.

In the next verse, we find God again speaking to what He had created: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree yielding seed; and to you it shall be for meat.”[16]

Here the words are even more explicit in that they depict a level of explanation and ‘reasoning’ when God says “Behold, I have given you …” It assumes that what is being communicated is being understood by those to whom it is being communicated, and that requires an ability to reason so as to comprehend what is being said, and an ability to receive that communication.

There can be no other explanation for the different use of words in respect of humans and animals.

Human DNA was being ‘programmed’ with the ability to reason, and to communicate. Whether that ‘programming’ involved a specific gene or series of genes, or whether it involved ‘programming’ existing genes to ‘know’ that these abilities would be required in the future and so to prepare ‘reserve genes’ (or psuedogenes), is not really important. The fact is that human beings do have these abilities. And even if geneticists claim that it is a result of ‘evolution,’ then, as the article on the Encode Project shows, human DNA would have to have had the ability to ‘know’ that it should prepare itself with ‘reserve genes’ which could form the basis from which the DNA could ‘evolve’ to accommodate the future environment it would encounter.

But even if human DNA only has this ‘evolutionary knowledge’ that it should ready itself for some future environment which it can ‘foresee’, and so ‘knows’ what genes to make to respond to that environment, that in itself would be quite a remarkable matter – DNA that ‘knows’ about the theory of evolution and how best to ‘accommodate’ itself to it? And all without any ‘programming’?

Nevertheless, that humans do have the capacity to reason and communicate, or at least some of them, is a fact. The only debate can be how that came about: or more specifically, was there some “conscious outside observer” involved who did a little manipulating of quantum probabilities before locking in the desired result with an observation; or was it an impossibly improbable accident of the kind to be expected when we multiply the probabilities to an infinite degree – even though the probabilities of the wavefunction of each particle are themselves said to be infinite? And even then, there is still that irritatingly persistent observation problem!

Hopefully having thus settled the origins of reason and communication according to Genesis, we should look to see what God was said to have been saying to “man” when He spoke to them, and why.

So the next crucial words come after God is said to bless “man”. In the first instance, God is said to say to “man” exactly what He said to animals: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, …[17] We should recall that in the case of animals the words were “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters …[18]

It seems quite obvious that these words relate to instinct; the instinct to reproduce, and the instinct for survival.

So Genesis is telling us that humans and animals were ‘programmed’ with the same instincts to reproduce and survive. And the survival instinct encompasses a number of subsidiary instincts such as eliminating any perceived threats to itself, or its offspring, and conversely, the instinct to reproduce includes an instinct to protect what is reproduced so as to preserve that line of the species – to preserve that which is the image of the parents.

Furthermore, the instinct to reproduce must necessarily include some mechanism which attracts one gender of the species to the other, so that the act of regeneration may take place. And that requires an additional instinct for each gender to portray itself in a manner which would attract the attentions of the opposite gender. That is the instinct to vanity.

However, according to Genesis, when it came to humans, God saw fit to endow humans with a number of additional instincts.

The first of these human-specific instincts are set out after the reproductive and survival instincts symbolized by the words “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth”. Here is verse 28 again: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every thing that moveth upon the earth.”

The key words said to have been spoken to “man” are “subdue it [the earth], and have dominion over [everything else].

These words can only refer to “man” being ‘programmed’ with the additional instincts for security and invention, symbolized by the instruction to “subdue [the earth], … and have dominion over [the other creatures].” These additional instincts leave most human beings with a strong desire to impose their authority not just on their environment, but on other human beings, as a means of suppressing the fear of insecurity that fires the instinct for security. That is because, regrettably, the ‘instruction’ to the first human beings to “subdue” the earth did not include a prohibition against subduing other human beings. This is what Nietzsche called the “will to power”.[19] But, as we shall see, the ‘omission’ was not some ‘slip-up’ on God’s part. It was required in order to ensure that a fundamental element of God’s Law was preserved – freedom.

Moreover, the instinct for security requires an ability for cunning so as to enable human beings to devise means of attempting to outsmart opponents so as to eliminate any perceived threat to their security. And cunning very quickly assumes the guise of deception and deceit. However, to employ such instincts, humans resort to their ability to reason, and communicate.

So we see that our instincts for survival, reproduction, and security, are not in themselves ‘wrong’ or ‘evil’. It is only when we employ ‘reason’ to service those instincts in such a way as to deprive others of their survival or security, or we employ ‘reason’ to deceive others such as a wife, or husband, and children, so as to indulge our ‘reproductive’ instinct, that the action becomes ‘wrong’ or ‘evil’.

However, there is another dimension to these human instincts which make them vulnerable to manipulation by ‘reason’ – pleasure and pain. In order for instincts to serve their purpose, there must be some mechanism which activates them. And that mechanism is the fear of pain, and the appetite for pleasure. It is these elements of human instinct which, being susceptible to the manipulation of ‘reason’, are the source of all ‘wrong’ and ‘evil’.

‘Reason’ in the service of our primitive instincts in pursuit of the allure of the ‘pleasures’ to be had by indulging those instincts, or fearful of the ‘pain’ which may ensue if any such instincts are threatened, leads to deception, deceit, fraud, murder, theft, violence, and every other ‘wrong’ and ‘evil’ that human beings can conceive to visit upon their fellow human beings.

Human activity shows that although these instincts are ‘triggered’ by perceived expectations of ‘pain or pleasure’, with the additional ability to ‘reason’, any perceived threat of pain, or expectation of pleasure, as a result of an instinct being activated, becomes an end in itself. ‘Reason’ thus devises ways to limit any expectations of pain, and to service the expectations of pleasure, aroused by those primitive instincts.

As Philo said, “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.”[20] The device human beings use to “aim at” pleasure, and devote themselves to satisfying it, is ‘reason’.

However, Genesis does not end the ‘programming’ of human DNA with instinct. The next verses reveal that human DNA was also programmed with an innate ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ of how other life functions, which, in turn, could be applied either to service our primitive instincts, or in the service of morality.

Those verses are these:

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree yielding seed; and to you it shall be for meat.”[21]

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”[22]

The introductory words “And God said, Behold, I have given you …” refer to the human beings which God had created “male and female”. But what is also clear is that those introductory words also apply to the next verse, because the next verse is a continuation of the explanation God is said to be providing to humans. These two verses symbolize human DNA being ‘programmed’ with an innate, but latent, ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ of how plant and animal life functions, and the interrelationship between them. And to know how life functions, these verses also imply, by extension’, an innate ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ of what life is made of, and the physical and chemical laws which make it all function.

And it is this ‘programming’ that gave rise to Einstein’s amazement at the human ability to understand the workings of the universe when he noted that “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.[23]

Having thus ‘programmed’ human DNA with morality, reason, instinct, and an innate ‘knowledge’ of the laws which make it all work, Day Six ends again with an observation: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.[24]

This final observation is not just “good,” but “very good.” It was exactly what God had intended to make, and it was also His final observation.

The “day” then ends with the familiar “And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”[25] As we shall see momentarily, this would have been just before liquid water appeared of Earth. And according to Schroeder, “Petrographical evidence indicates that liquid water appeared on Earth … approximately 4 billion years ago.”[26]

So, at the end of Day Six, Genesis tells us that human DNA had been ‘programmed’ with three principal elements: instinct, morality, and reason, and reason could act as a sort of adjudicator between instinct and morality, if we elect to apply it to that purpose, rather than the pursuit of the temptations of pleasure held out by satisfying our primitive instincts.

If ‘reason’ in the service of primitive instinct were the whole story, human existence would be a very miserable experience – an existence “more miserable than death.”[27]

Luckily, God spared us that fate by creating us “in his own image.”[28] He embedded in our minds a “morality module”, which could ensure that “… [man] is not so completely an animal as to be indifferent to what [morality] says on its own account, and to use [reason] merely as an instrument for the satisfaction of his wants as a [sensual] being.”[29]

Therefore, all the evidence points to human DNA having been ‘programmed’ with the necessary information to create the human species, first in primitive form, but with the ability to ‘know’ what kind of environments it will encounter in the future so that it can ‘program’ itself to respond to those environments, and so create more sophisticated DNA structures.

However, the crucial point to note is that this ability to ‘know’ what environments it may encounter, and prepare itself accordingly, requires an ‘observation – a kind of ‘instruction’ as to what the future holds. And that ‘observation’, or ‘instruction’, could not come from human beings themselves because human DNA ‘developed’ from earlier primitive DNA which, in turn, appears to have been ‘created’ in the stars or supernovae. To acquire these remarkable capabilities, DNA needed an “outside observer” to tend to the ‘fine tuning’ in order to create what resulted in a human being endowed with a moral aptitude.

Once DNA had finally realized its full potential as a moral being, it was able to make moral choices, and thus begin to shape its own destiny. The probabilities inherent in fundamental particles manifest themselves in the human ability to make choices as to what actions they will take, and whether those actions will be in service of their primitive instincts, or in response to the moral principles, or “moral law” as Kant called it, embedded in the brain.

It was at this point in cosmic history that the “outside observer” passed humanity’s moral destiny to human beings themselves – “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.[30]

In terms of science, Michio Kaku puts it this way: “… in a quantum play, the actors suddenly throw away the script and act on their own. The puppets cut their strings. Free will has been established.”[31] However, according to Genesis, it is not the “puppets” that “cut their strings”, but the “outside observer”.

And so, when we come to the end of the six days of creation, we find that in the functioning of the universe and nature, God’s Will is expressed through God’s Law which permeates everything; it is what we understand, to a very limited degree, as the laws of physics. However, in respect of human beings, God’s Will is expressed by God’s Law being embedded in the human brain as a neurological moral network or “morality module”. But humans are not ‘governed’ by that law, they must freely choose it. The decision to follow God’s Will is theirs. However, as we shall see, God does attempt to guide our choice, and He has made valiant efforts to do so – mostly in the face of arrogant and ignorant resistance.

And with that in mind, we will next consider Chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis. And we will be introduced to the ‘pre-fall descendants’ of Adam and Eve – yes, alive and well to this very day.

By Joseph BH McMillan

The remaining articles on Genesis Chapters 2 & 3 will be published in the coming days.

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2014 All Rights Reserved

Notes

[1] Philo, On the Creation, XXIII (69).

[2] Philo, On the Creation, VI (24).

[3] Deuteronomy 30:10 – 14.

[4] Luke 17; 21 – my emphasis.

[5] Romans 2: 14 & 15.

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

[7] Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 5, v. 15 – emphasis mine.

[8] Mathew 19: 4 – 8.

[9] Psalm 33: 6.

[10] Philo, On the Creation, XXIV (74).

[11] Exodus 20:12.

[12] Philo, Decalogue, XXII (106)

[13] The Guardian, 13 October 2005.

[14] Weinberg, page 32.

[15] Genesis 1: 28.

[16] Genesis 1: 29.

[17] Genesis 1: 28.

[18] Genesis 1: 22.

[19] Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, para 36, page 48.

[20] Philo. On the Creation, LVII(162)

[21] Genesis 1: 29.

[22] Genesis 1: 30.

[23] Quoted by Rees, pages 11 – 12.

[24] Genesis 1: 31.

[25] Genesis 1: 31.

[26] Schroeder, The Science of God, page 90.

[27] Philo, On the Creation, LVIII (164)

[28] Genesis 1: 27

[29] Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, page 80 – my adaptations in square brackets.

[30] Genesis 2: 2.

[31] Kaku,  page 149.

 

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2014 All Rights Reserved

Perspectives on the Scriptures: Genesis Day Five – ‘Programming’ of Animal Life: Reason in the service of Instinct

Day Five starts with these words:

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”[Genesis 1: 20]

The first thing we should consider here is what is meant by “the waters”.

Although Day Four clearly refers to our particular solar system, and thus our planet, Genesis tells us that at the end of the six days there was still no water on the Earth, at least not water in liquid form. And the reason, according to Genesis, was that “God had not caused it to rain upon the earth ...” [Genesis 2: 5]

It is only after the six days of creation, and after the seventh when God is said to have rested, that water in liquid form is said to have materialized on earth: “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” [Genesis 2: 6]

However, we should recall from the first three “days” that the word “waters” was used to describe the life-giving properties of matter during its various stages of creation. We should also recall that Day Three can only be construed as having created primitive DNA structures as a sort of blueprint for life that was to follow. As Philo says, this primitive DNA would have acted as the “incorporeal ideas perceptible only by the intellect, which have been appointed to be as seals of the perfected works, perceptible by the outward senses.[1]

So it seems most likely, and consistent with the use of the word “waters” throughout Genesis Chapter 1, that in Day Five the words “the waters” are referring to the primitive DNA which had “seeded” the matter making up the early Earth and its atmosphere. And when we recall that the words “And God said …” have been consistently used to represent a manipulation of probabilities with the objective of creating a desired result, then this verse begins to make some sense.

The primitive DNA structures are undergoing a modification so as to enable them to respond to a future environment they will soon encounter. And that environment would be planet Earth in a form more similar to the one we see today; a planet with liquid water, and a life-permitting atmosphere. The primitive DNA that had “seeded” the early planet was being ‘programmed’ to respond to its intended future environment. Like the particles in the delayed-choice experiments, we could say that “it’s as though the [primitive DNA had] a ‘premonition’ of the [future Earth] they [would] encounter farther downstream, and [were adjusting] accordingly.[2] Except that Genesis is telling us that the primitive DNA was being ‘programmed’ by God to ‘know’ what was coming, and also to adapt itself to develop in the environment it was to encounter as Earth cooled down. And as any school child with even a little knowledge of what is called ‘evolution’ will tell us, animal life as we know it started in the oceans, then adapted to the skies, and land.

So what seems clear is that “the waters” have a kind of double meaning: they refer to the properties of primitive DNA which were being ‘programmed’ to develop into more advanced life once they encountered liquid water; and it means that the first ‘advanced life’ on Earth was destined (or ‘programmed’) to emerge from water, which, of course, it did – so far as we know.

The next verse follows the familiar sequence by introducing the second stage of what we could call the quantum effect as seen in the delayed-choice experiments – the ‘intended’ result, as expressed in the ‘instructions’ following the words “And God said …”, are implemented. In this verse, God is said to do those things He previously said should be done:

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” [Genesis 1: 21]

Following the usual pattern, the words “And God saw that it was good” lock in, so to speak, the ‘programming’ that had taken place. But in the case of the creation of more advanced life, we have a very significant addition to the normal sequence of events. God is now said to speak to what He had just created:

And God blessed them, SAYING, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.[Genesis 1:22 – my emphasis on saying]

This is a very significant verse, and becomes even more significant when we contrast it to the words God is said to have spoken to human beings when they were created in Day Six. And it is for that reason, as we shall see, that I have emphasized the word “saying”.

So why these words?

Well, what is clear is that verse 21 refers to the physical composition of the creatures God is said to create – “whales, and every living creature that moveth  …”; whereas verse 22 clearly refers to the composition of the brain, and how it is ‘programmed’.

The reason for this is obvious. In verse 22, God is said to ‘speak’ when He blesses the creatures He has just created. And ‘speaking’ implies a neurological process or activity. But when God is said to bless the creatures, He does not ‘speak to’ them, instead he blesses them “SAYING, …”

By contrast, when it comes to “man,” which God is said to create “male and female,” we find these words: “And God blessed them, and God SAID UNTO THEM, …

And there is a very big difference between simply “saying” something and speaking to someone in particular.

The difference is something we experience in daily life. We often simply say something to no one in particular, or even to ourselves. Most people with pets will ‘speak’ to their pets. For example, if we take food out for the dog, we may say something like, ‘there you are, eat that, it will keep your fur shiny.” Of course, we don’t expect that the dog understands what we are ‘saying’. We are more ‘relating’ to the dog, not ‘reasoning’ with it as to the benefits of the nourishment of the food we are giving it. We do not expect the dog to respond in an intelligible way. And we certainly do not expect to hold an intelligent conversation with the dog.

Contrast that with what happens when we speak to our children. Even from an early age we speak to our children because we know that they have the capacity to come to understand what we are saying to them. We speak to our children in a very different way to the way we ‘speak’ to our pets. And as the children acquire a capacity to understand and respond, we hold intelligent conversations with them. And in time we expect to discuss things like the nutritional value of the food we prepare for them. And we also hope for intelligent discussion about the more profound issues of life.

In both cases, however, there is an element of ‘reason’ going on. And that is clearly what Genesis is referring to.

In the case of animals, they are being ‘programmed’ with a limited ability to ‘reason’. They can work out that when we come out at certain times of the day they will eat. In the wild, that limited ability to ‘reason’ is applied to determine the most likely places to find food, and the most effective way to hunt, for example.

So the use of the word “saying” clearly refers to a ‘programming’ of animals with a limited ability to ‘reason’. But ‘limited’ to what?

Well, that is found in the words that God is said to have used. And these words are the key to properly understanding Genesis, and the human condition:

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.[Genesis 1: 22]

They are being ‘programmed’ with primitive INSTINCTS – reproductive and survival instincts. In order to “be fruitful and multiply” there must be some mechanism to attract one sex of the species to the other so that they can reproduce. And in order to sustain their existence, they need to survive; and for that they need to eat. And for the species to “multiply”, they also have to ensure the survival of their offspring, so they need a strong instinct to protect their young.

So verse 22 can only refer to the ‘programming’ of DNA so that animals have basic reproductive and survival instincts, and a limited ability to ‘reason’; and the fact is that animals do have such instincts, and they do have a limited ability to ‘reason’ in order to work out how they can most effectively service those instincts.

Therefore, the only real difference between science (or biology) and Genesis is not whether animals possess such instincts, and posses a limited ability to reason in order to most effectively service those instincts, but how they got there.

The general scientific consensus is evolution.

However, with each passing year, the theory of evolution appears to be on increasingly shaky ground.

As we saw in Chapter 4, discoveries of life-forms from space are a direct challenge to the accepted propositions of evolution. As we noted there, Professor Milton Wainwright said: “If life does continue to arrive from space then we will have to completely change our view of biology and evolution.”[3]

And it gets even more intriguing.

The Encode Project, a multinational 5 year study to analyze the 98% of human DNA that does not constitute a protein-creating gene (classified previously as Junk DNA), has now discovered that “this DNA is not junk at all … [and] … that as much as a fifth [of it] is instead made up of “switches” – bits of DNA that turn some genes on and others off.”[4] As the Hanlon article notes, human beings are “not much more well endowed genetically than a fruit fly or even a lump of yeast.”

Hanlon goes on to note that “… the more we learn about our genome, the more complex it becomes. We have genes that tell our bodies to make proteins, genes that affect other genes, genes that are influenced by the environment, segments of DNA that switch certain genes on and off, as well as RNA, the still-not-fully understood messenger molecule that conveys information from our DNA to protein factories in cells.” And furthermore, DNA also “consists of ‘pseudogenes’ – non-functioning copies of active genes that form the raw material for evolution’ – sort of ‘reserve genes’ waiting to be switched on.

Now, although the Encode Project was looking at human DNA, the same principles apply when it comes to animal DNA. And taken in the whole, what this shows is that DNA is somehow ‘programmed’ to ‘know’ what it will encounter in the future and has prepared the mechanisms to respond to those eventualities.

Whether the ‘reserve genes’ are ‘pre-programmed’ to develop certain characteristics as they encounter certain environments, or whether DNA somehow ‘knows’ how, and with what, those ‘reserve genes’ need to be programmed when certain environments are encountered, is not important. Either way, DNA seems to ‘know’ which switches to operate in order to activate (or ‘program’) the ‘reserve genes’ necessary to respond to the different environments it appears to ‘know’ it will encounter at some point in the future.

In considering Hox Genes (the genes that that control the body’s organs), Gerald Schroeder says this: “It is true that Hox genes have been discovered to control the location and development of entire organs. But the genes that actually form these organs must already be present in the genome. We are forced to revert to the idea of latent genes, waiting patiently to be cued by the environment for expression.[5] The Encode Project appears to endorse that observation.

So how can DNA ‘know’ all this?

The answer may be found in the delayed-choice experiments referred to by Brian Greene (discussed in Day One).

Greene’s interpretation of the results of these delayed-choice experiments was this: “it’s as if the photons adjust their behaviour in the past according to the future choice of whether the … detector is switched on; it’s as though the photons have a ‘premonition’ of the experimental situation they will encounter farther downstream, and act accordingly.[6]

These remarkable properties of fundamental particles clearly show that they do have the ability to ‘know’ what the future will look like, as long as that future is somehow made aware to them. They then assume the correct mode to prepare for that eventuality.

But can these properties of fundamental particles be translated to explain the behavior of DNA? The answer must be yes.

On the connection between the quantum phenomena of subatomic particles and DNA, Weinberg says that “DNA is too complicated to allow us to use the equations of quantum mechanics to work out its structure. But the structure is understood well enough through the ordinary rules of chemistry, and no one doubts that with a large enough computer we could in principle explain all the properties 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.”[7]

And of chemical reactions, which of course underlie the creation and functioning of DNA, Weinberg says this: “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.[8]

Rees puts it this way: “Mathematical laws underpin the fabric of our universe – not just atoms, but galaxies, stars and people. The properties of atoms … determine the chemistry of our everyday world. … And everything takes place in the arena of an expanding universe, whose properties were imprinted into it at the time of the initial Big Bang.”[9]

However, we should also remember that the quantum phenomena which determine how chemical reactions create DNA, and make it function, are subject to the two-stage process of probability and observation. So if DNA somehow ‘knows’ that it should accommodate its structure to the environment it finds itself in, or that the molecules and proteins which make up DNA somehow ‘know’ that in certain environments they should ‘create’ sophisticated DNA structures, that must be down to the quantum phenomena of the subatomic particles whose properties are themselves determined by the phenomena of probability and observation. As the experiments referred to by Greene make clear, for particles to ‘know’ how to react to a future environment, they have to be observed.

We can thus apply this connection between the quantum phenomena of particles, and the structure and functioning of DNA, to the creation of higher life-forms referred to in Day Five and, as we shall see, Day Six.

So Day Five sees the ‘creation’ of DNA that will produce the various animal life-forms, but only once the Earth has stabilized to an environment containing water and the right atmosphere in which that DNA can manifest itself as the life it was intended to be. Further, the act of God blessing and speaking to the life created, symbolizes the ‘programming’ of the DNA with instincts and a limited ability to ‘reason’. And the limited ability to ‘reason’ also infers a limited capacity to communicate. Clearly the symbolism of God speaking as He blesses the creatures He has just created suggests that animals are ‘programmed’ with limited communication skills. And our everyday experience of animals confirms that fact.

At this stage, we should consider for a moment the question of statistics. There are many who argue that the very emergence of life is so statistically unlikely that it must point to a creator. In his book The Science of God, Gerald Schroeder devotes a lot of time to statistics and it does make interesting reading. But the argument based on statistics is circular, if not destined to be a dead end. It’s like the lottery. A statistician could no doubt convince most of us that the chances of winning the lottery are so infinitesimally small that it would be a waste of money to play. Yet, most weeks someone does win. To be ‘certain’ of winning the lottery, you may need to play for several lifetimes. The fact is, statistically remote as it may be to win, it does happen – regrettably, not to me.

So although I do mention statistics from time to time, A ‘Final Theory’ of God is not based on improbability – although probability does play a subsidiary role.

In the next article we will deal with Day Six – the culmination on the creation story; and the intended final cosmic product – human beings.

By Joseph B.H. McMillan. This article is an abridged extract from Chapter 6 of A ‘Final Theory’ of God, available from Amazon.com.

Copyright © Joseph B.H. McMillan All Rights Reserved

Notes:

[1] Philo, On the Heavens, XLIV – 129.

[2] Adapted from Greene, pages 188 – 189.

[3] Press Association, http://uk.yahoo.com/organisms -originated-space-154844488.html.

[4] Michael Hanlon, The Daily Telegraph (London), September 11, 2012.

[5] Schroeder, The Science of God, page 119.

[6] Greene, pages 188 & 189.

[7] Weinberg, page 32.

[8] Weinberg, pages 9 & 10.

[9] Rees, page 1.

Perspectives on the Scriptures: Genesis Day Four – The Earth, Sun and Moon

Day Four of the Genesis account of the origins of the universe deals with the creation of our solar system.

Day Four thus starts with this:

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:”

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.” [Genesis 1: 14 – 15]

At this stage, we should consider the question of time in the context of Genesis. In essence, time is a function of motion. In Day One, the motion was the initial inflationary expansion and Big Bang, which set the universe in motion. The subsequent expansion in Days Two and Three resulted in the formation of stars and galaxies, and then the first primitive DNA structures.

At the start of Day Four, there would have been galaxies and stars throughout the universe. But Day Four focuses in on our particular Sun, and solar system. And it makes the connection between the Sun and Moon, and time as we calculate it on Earth. Time, as we understand it in everyday usage, is simply a measure of the motion of the Earth in relation to the Sun.

So Day Four has three objectives – “to divide the day from the night”; to “be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”; and finally, “to give light upon the earth”.

As usual, the process starts with “And God said …” which signifies, as we have seen, a manipulation of probabilities. In the case of the Earth, Sun and Moon, there either had to be a series of remarkably improbable coincidences, or there had to be some manipulation of probabilities. Otherwise, our planet would not have been able to ‘create’ and sustain life, never mind human life with a capacity for moral judgment.

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

In his chapter titled A Designer Universe?, Michio Kaku lists some of the remarkable coincidences that placed our Earth in what scientists call “the Goldilocks zone” – but not just “the Goldilocks zone of our sun, we also live within a series of other Goldilocks zones.”

And, says Kaku, “If Earth were outside just one of these very narrow bands, we would not be here to discuss the question.”[2]

However, these coincidences do not ‘prove’ that God must have ‘designed’ our Earth, Sun and Moon to be perfectly receptive to the ‘creation’ of life as we know it. As Kaku says, “it might simply be a coincidence, one rare example among millions of planets in space that lie outside Goldilocks zones.” If we throw the dice a sufficient number of times, our numbers will eventually come up, is the scientific explanation.

But that is not the whole story. As we have seen, every sub-atomic particle has built into itself an infinite number of probabilities represented by its wavefunction. And quantum physics tells us that until a particle is “observed”, or interfered with, it will remain in that uncertain state of probabilities.

So how do scientists get round that problem?

Mostly, they propose a multiverse. Citing Martin Rees, Kaku says this: “It is no accident, [Rees] believes, that the universe is finely tuned to allow life to exist. There are simply too many accidents for the universe to be in such a narrow band that allows life.” Rees thus thinks, according to Kaku, that “these cosmic accidents give evidence for the existence of the multiverse… [and] … in our universe [one of the many in a multiverse], a series of cosmic accidents has happened, not necessarily because of the hand of God but because of the law of averages.”[3]

We should remember, however, that Rees does admit that his “view that our six numbers are accidents of history is no more than a ‘hunch’.”[4]

If we were to try to give an analogy, the argument could be compared to winning the lottery. The chances of winning the lottery are remote, as anyone having played will know. So the fact that one person does win does not mean that some divine providence played a part and arranged for that person’s numbers to come up. It was just luck. But in the case of our universe, or more specifically our Earth, scientists recognize that the chances of everything being so perfectly suited to life are simply too remote, which has driven them to seek explanations that don’t need to resort to God – otherwise they would have to have a default position that God created the universe and life, until they could ‘prove’ the contrary.

In the ‘parallel worlds’ hypothesis, the argument appears to be that every possible outcome is realized in a parallel world. So even if you don’t win the lottery in this world, everyone who played the lottery in a particular week will have won in one of the billions of other parallel worlds, and the person who won in this world lost in all or most of those other worlds. So everyone is a winner somewhere. And a loser!

The multiverse hypothesis is a little different. It reverses the process by multiplying the number of lotteries. So although you still only have the numbers on your one entry (rather than billions of entries), this hypothesis simply multiplies the number of lotteries your numbers enter to an almost infinite degree – so your numbers are likely to come up in at least one of the billions of lotteries in the multi-lottery universe. It’s the law of averages.

It should be noted that these two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive. Parallel worlds, it seems, can exist in any number of the universes in the multiverse.

But there is still a catch! Under all the hypotheses, until there is an observation, there are only probabilities. So, taking our lottery example, until the numbers are chosen and announced (the draw is made), for every ticket holder there is only a chance (probability) that they may win. If no draw is made, there will be no results for them to check to see whether they’ve won.

It is that problem that has given rise to theories like those of physicists Andrei Linde, John Wheeler and, most recently, Max Tegmark.

This is what Wheeler believed: “At the beginning of the universe, it sprang into being because it was observed. This means that “it” (matter in the universe) sprang into existence when information (“Bit”) of the universe was observed. [Wheeler] called this the “participatory universe” – the idea that the universe adapts to us in the same way that we adapt to the universe, that our very presence makes the universe possible.[5]

Tegmark claims that what Wheeler would have called ‘information’ is in fact mathematics – a “universe of gyrating numbers, of equations coming to life[6] – but only when we “observe” them.

So the general thesis seems to be this: in the universe we know there is a probability that all probable events and outcomes could happen; but the probability of the specific outcome of our universe with our special solar system, our Sun, our Moon, and our Earth, being perfectly suited and situated to create the DNA that gave rise to a living organism, conscious of its own existence, and capable of making moral judgments, is so remote as to be more or less impossible. BUT, if we say that there are billions or even trillions of other universes, then the probability that at least one of them would turn out like ours becomes more probable.

However, in order to manifest something that resembles ‘reality’, there still needs to be a conscious observer to look at the jumble of probabilities – otherwise they remain just that, probabilities.

As Tegmark says, “All those galaxies only became beautiful 400 years ago when someone saw them for the first time. If we humans wipe ourselves out, then the entire universe becomes a huge waste of space.”[7] And Andrei Linde claims that “In the absence of observers, our universe is dead.[8]

So these ‘theories’ recognize that a conscious observer is an absolute pre-requisite for any sort of ‘reality’; but they make us, human beings, the observers – after the fact, so to speak.

Outlandish as this may seem at first, as we have seen, Philo appears to lend some support to such theories: “Does he [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.[9]

But Philo does not write God out of the story. He simply recognizes that Genesis does suggest that at the end of the six days of creation, life as we see it today did not exist in the form we see it today. The “incorporeal ideas” had been “appointed to be as seals of the perfected works.”

So we see that Philo recognizes that even abstract ideas, or as Tegmark may say, mathematics, had been “appointed” to be as “seals” to create the intended ‘product’. And according to Genesis, the appointing was done by God. The CONSCIOUS OUTSIDE OBSERVER was God.

Therefore, science and Genesis do not significantly differ when it comes to the remarkable coincidences that have placed the Earth in a position in relation to the Sun and Moon, and indeed the universe as a whole, which made it receptive to life, including conscious human life capable of making moral judgments.

And there is even recognition in some scientific circles that the necessity for an observation could well point to a God. Kaku cites “the Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner and others, [who advocate] that consciousness determines existence. … Wigner has written that it ‘was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way, without reference to the consciousness [of the observer] …’”[10]

On Wigner’s interpretation, says Kaku, “we necessarily see the hand of consciousness everywhere. The infinite chain of observers, each one viewing the previous observer, ultimately leads to a cosmic observer, perhaps God himself? In this picture, the universe exists because there is a deity to observe it.”[11]

So although most scientists fear the ridicule of their peers if they venture to suggest that God may make some sense of the science, there are those who will acknowledge that the evidence could well point in that direction. And the remarkable thing is that Genesis postulated just such a requirement (a conscious outside observer), and it did so several thousand years ago. What are the odds of that, we may ask?

So, according to Genesis, all the ingredients (elements) necessary to ‘refine’ the primitive DNA that had been created in Day Three, so as to ‘create’ higher life-forms, are found in perfect quantities on Earth. And the Sun was perfectly positioned “to give light upon the earth” – a necessary ingredient for life as we know it – but not so far from Earth as to leave a frozen planet, and not so near as to fry the Earth. And scientists would not disagree with any of that. The only disagreement, as we have just seen, is who or what did the observing to bring this ‘reality’ about. Either something like a multiverse of “gyrating numbers, [and] of equations coming to life” (but only once human beings had acquired the consciousness necessary to observe them); or a conscious outside observer – God.

However, even if one was inclined to believe the former, whether in the Tegmark form of a mathematical multiverse, or simply a series of highly improbable coincidences, there still remains the mystery of where the mathematics came from. As Weinberg says, “where do the probabilities come from …?[12] Which is what prompted Weinberg to suggest the kind of “model” we referred to in respect of Day One.

We should remind ourselves what he said: “What one needs is a quantum-mechanical model with a wave function that describes not only various systems under study but also something representing a CONSCIOUS OBSERVER. With such a model, one would try to show that, as a result of repeated interactions of the OBSERVER with INDIVIDUAL SYSTEMS, the wave function of the combined system evolves with certainty to a final wave function, in which the OBSERVER has become convinced that the probabilities of the individual measurements are what are prescribed in the Copenhagen interpretation.”[13]

Genesis looks more like such a model with each passing “day”.

Like all the previous Days, Day Four has a three-stage process. First, the manipulation of probabilities symbolized by the words “And God said …” We should recall from Day One the curious behavior of particles in the “delayed-choice experiments”. The words “And God said …” act as a kind of ‘instruction’ as to the intended goal, like the decision to go to university and get a degree.

The second stage appears at verses 16 and 17. “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: …” The description here is almost an exact repeat of the events in Day One, at verses 4 and 5. There is light and darkness; a division of the light from the darkness; and day and night. The only difference is that Day One referred to the creation of the universe as a whole, whereas Day Four refers to the creation of our little corner of the universe.

What these verses in Day Four are clearly telling us is that the principles are the same.

They are telling us that by working out how the laws of physics work right here in our little corner of the universe, we can know how those laws work throughout the universe. And that is a result of one of the principles of the laws of physics – symmetry. As Brian Greene says, ‘the explanatory framework the laws [of physics] provide is not at all changed by a change in location … So the symmetries of nature are not merely consequences of nature’s laws … [but] … the foundation from which the laws spring.’[14] Or more specifically: “We are bound to planet earth and its vicinity. And yet, because of translational symmetry, we can learn about fundamental laws at work in the entire universe without straying from home, since the laws we discover here are those laws.[15] Perhaps that is exactly what Genesis is telling us by making such apparently ‘careless’ duplications. Human beings were given the “signs” necessary to work out not only how the Earth, Sun and Moon work together, but how the entire universe works.

So stage two of Day Four is putting into effect the intended outcome sought, as depicted by the words that follow “And God said …” In the example of deciding to get a degree (referred to in the account of Day One), it is the application to university, followed by embarking on the course.

However, we should recall again from the delayed-choice experiments that “a consistent and definite history becomes manifest only after the future to which it leads has been fully settled.”[16] And for that we need an observation (measurement). And that is precisely what we find at the end of verse 18 – “and God saw that it was good.” From then on, the Earth, Sun and Moon, and the planets, work in the Newtonian classical model. Their motions are entirely deterministic, and thus predictable.

Day Four ends with the now familiar words that define a “day” – “And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”[17] By the most recent scientific calculations, that would have been around 4.5 billion years ago – almost ten billion years after “the beginning” – although we should always bear in mind the possibility that everything may have ‘materialized’ in a much shorter timescale.

And so Day Four was “fully settled.”

But before we move on to Days Five and Six, we should just consider one final issue.

As we saw in respect of Day Three, “our Sun is not Earth’s true ‘mother’ … [because] our Sun is barely hot enough to fuse hydrogen to helium. This means that our true ‘mother’ sun was actually an unnamed star or collection of stars that died billions of years ago in a supernova, which then seeded nearby nebulae with the higher elements beyond iron which make our body.”[18]

That quote from Kaku demonstrates just how accurate the Genesis account of ‘creation’ is. In Day Three there is no Sun or Moon, yet ‘life’ emerges. And that life was dispersed throughout the universe. We then focus in on our solar system in Day Four, and the Sun and Moon come into the picture. So at this stage, we have the first forming of the Earth in a configuration close to that which we have today, and the chemical composition of the Earth was such as to have all the necessary elements to build on the primitive DNA life-forms that were ‘created’ in Day Three. To adapt from Kaku, we could say that the events of Day Three “seeded nearby nebulae [one of which was to form planet Earth] with [the primitive DNA] which [ultimately formed the ‘seal’ to] make [the human organism].

So by the end of Day Four, all the necessary preparations had been made to start on the real business of creating higher life-forms, and ultimately a moral organism – a human being. So Freeman Dyson, according to the Genesis version of creation, was pretty accurate, except it was not that “the universe knew we were coming,”[19] but that God was preparing the universe for our coming.

The creation process described by Genesis, even up to this point, certainly starts to give meaning to Einstein’s statement that “science without religion is lame [and] religion without science is blind.”

And that is because science and the Prophets are saying the same thing, only in different ‘tongues’.

Click here to go to Day Five.

 

By Joseph B.H. McMillan. This is an abridged extract from Chapter 5 of A ‘Final Theory’ of God, available from Amazon.com.

Copyright © Joseph B.H. McMillan 2014 All Rights Reserved

Notes:

[1] Kaku, Michio. Parallel Worlds, Penguin, London, 2006 (paperback), page 248.

[2] Kaku, page 244.

[3] Kaku, page 249.

[4] Rees, Martin. Just Six Numbers, Phoenix, London, 1999 (paperback), page 174.

[5] Kaku, page 172 – my emphasis.

[6] Hanlon, Michael. The Telegraph of London, 22 April, 2014  – Max Tagmark: It’s goodbye to the universe – hello to the multiverse, referring to Our Mathematical Universe, Allen Lane, London,2014.

[7] Hanlon, Ibid.

[8] Kaku, page 166.

[9] Philo, On the Heavens, XLIV – 129.

[10] Kaku, page 167.

[11] Kaku, page 351.

[12] Weinberg, Steven. Dreams of a Final Theory, Vintage, New York, 1994 (paperback), page 81.

[13] Weinberg, page 84 – my emphasis.

[14] Greene, Brian. The Fabric of the Cosmos, Penguin, London, 2005 (paperback), pages 222 & 225

[15] Greene, page 223 – Greene’s emphasis.

[16] Greene, pages 188 & 189.

[17] Genesis 1: 19.

[18] Kaku, page 67.

[19] Kaku, page 248 – see above.