Category Archives: science and religion

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

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

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

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

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

He then goes on to explain Day One like this:

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

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

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

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

That is what the next video will address.

The previous two videos can be seen here:

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

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

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

The Kingdom of God

Much has been written about the Kingdom of God, ranging from ridicule to the ‘Hollywood spectacular’ of chariots and trumpets.

I can’t claim to be familiar with all interpretations and criticisms, but I am unconvinced by those I have encountered. And the reason is simple – I can’t find much Scriptural support for them.

Jesus was a Jew, and he was teaching Jews. He was clearly well versed in Jewish Scripture.[1] And he made his stand firmly on the Law: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”[2]

In determining what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven (which are used interchangeably in the Gospels), I would expect to find confirmation in the Old Testament – in the Law and the prophets. I would expect the Kingdom of God to be a description of a fundamental tenet of Jewish Scripture that had been lost to “the house of Israel.”[3]

But let’s start with what Jesus said about it.

First, Jesus said that there were people alive at the time who would “see” the Kingdom of God coming in their lifetimes.[4] Jesus also told the twelve disciples that they would not have visited all the cities of Israel before “the son of man be come” (ie the Kingdom of God).

The Kingdom of God was something that people could expect to “see” in their lifetimes. And Jesus specifically urges them to do so: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to thee.”[5] The things that would “be added” are those things necessary for life. So the Kingdom of God is something to discover during our lifetimes. It is not eschatological (relating to the end times), except as it relates to our individual lives after death.[6]

To find the Kingdom of God, Jesus tells us to “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.[7] This is an important verse. I shall return to it.

But how and where do we “seek … the Kingdom of God”?

Well, Jesus is clear on that: “The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the Kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.”[8]

Here, then, we find the first reference that ties up the Kingdom of God to the Old Testament.

 “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the WORD is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.[9]

The “word” is the Law, the Ten Commandments – “These words the Lord spake … and He added no more. And He wrote them in two tables of stone.”[10]

It is abundantly clear, therefore, that the Kingdom of God that Jesus says is “within” us is precisely the same thing as the “word” which, according to Deuteronomy, is also within us, in our heart and in our mouth, that we may do it.

But when Jesus describes the Kingdom of God, we find it starts as something tiny.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”[11]

Also, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”[12]

So the Kingdom of God grows from something resembling a tiny seed into a mighty kingdom; a kingdom governed by the Law, the word of God.

That suggests that the Law, the Ten Commandments, started from something tiny before it ‘grew’ into the Kingdom of God. And that is indeed the message of the Scriptures.

Not only was Jesus said to preach the word, he is said to have been the Word, which was “in the beginning with God,” and through whom all things were created.[13]

That is identical to the description of Wisdom in Proverbs: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.[14]

So to understand how the Kingdom of God came about, and how it came to be “within us”, the Scriptures point us to The Beginning. And we find that in the first book of the Bible – Genesis.

The best starting point in considering the first chapter of Genesis is the literal interpretation. And that interpretation is itself quite remarkable.

It is the view adopted by the Jewish scholar Nahmanides (1194 – 1270 AD). His Commentary on Genesis chapter 1 says this: – “And now, listen to a correct and clear explanation of the text according to its simple understanding (peshuto). … Behold, with this creation, which was like a small [and] fine dot, and without substance, were created all of the creations in the heavens and the earth.”[15]

Now that sounds very much like the “grain of mustard seed” or “leaven” referred to by Jesus, and happens to be precisely the current understanding of science regarding the origin of the universe. I’ll be addressing this further in my forthcoming video presentation of A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part III).

But Nahmanides takes this interpretation further. In relation to the creation of human beings, his Commentary on Genesis 1: 24 says this: “the correct simple meaning of the word, ‘let us make,’ is that which you have already been shown, … that God created something from nothing on the first day alone, and afterwards He formed and made [everything] from the fundamental elements.”

So human beings are descended from the same “small [and] fine dot”, or “grain of mustard seed,” just like everything else in the universe.

The universe is an integrated system governed by law, just like a mustard tree. Everything is related and connected to everything else. And that includes the human brain.

The great Jewish philosopher, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, who lived at about the same time as Jesus, says this about the connection between the human brain and the integrated system that is the universe: “the resemblance [between God and man] 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.[16]

Human beings are then a manifestation of the laws that govern the universe. But not only are we a manifestation of those laws, they are also imprinted into the human brain, which has the necessary mechanisms to convert them into words, images and concepts. One of those mechanisms converts the universal laws into moral principles. The British IVF pioneer, Sir Robert Winston, calls this mechanism a “morality module,” which he says is activated at an early stage; I call it a neurological moral network. It is this mechanism that gives us the capacity for moral judgment.

But if the human brain as a “primitive model” of the universal mind has a moral dimension, then the universal mind must also have a moral dimension. The laws that govern the universe must be moral laws.

It is this remarkable aspect of the brain that speaks to us of God as our Creator, and reveals to us His Law and His Will. It is like an ‘instruction manual’ installed in the human brain that identifies its manufacturer and the proper use of its abilities to realise the purpose of its creation, should we choose to consult it. Jesus called it the Kingdom of God.

That can be the only reasonable understanding of the Kingdom of God being “within us”. [see A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part I) and (Part X)].

If we seek it, says Jesus, we can find it. But there is a complication. As I show in A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part VII), Genesis tells us that the human brain is also programmed with instinct and reason. These faculties are required to ensure the survival of the species. But when reason falls into bondage to our primitive instincts we are blinded to the Kingdom of God “within us.”

That is the meaning of the other parables of the Kingdom of God in which the “seed” of the word of the Kingdom of God does not take root, or is choked: “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”[17] We chase after the allure of the pleasures to be had by indulging our primitive instincts, and the human capacity for reason will devise many a justification for doing so, not least our insatiable appetite for vanity. Jesus himself had to resist the temptation to service his instincts as reason sought to persuade him of the personal benefits of doing so.[18]

The brain is like a search engine. It is ‘programmed’ with the ‘knowledge’ of the universe. But it is up to us what we search for. Search for information that will enlighten us and we can find it, rare as it may be on the internet. Search for those things that appeal to our primitive instincts, and we are inundated with advice on getting rich, on obscenities, violence, celebrities, and every other useless piece of information that can be devised by the human mind in service of its primitive instincts. But Jesus tells us that the only important thing is to search for the Kingdom of God, and that if we search with resolution and faith, if we ask the right questions, we will find what we are looking for. And the seed of the Kingdom of God “within us” will begin to grow into a mighty mustard tree.

Make the right search, and we will get the right results, and it will be worthwhile: “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.[19]

The things to search for are those things that constitute the fundamental principles of the Kingdom of God, the Ten Commandments: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”[20]

But that search demands that we resist the temptations to indulge our primitive instincts: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?[21]

However, the Kingdom of God is not something relevant only to each person individually. It was not God’s purpose to simply set a test to see who could get across the line to everlasting life, and to fry the losers.

His purpose was to establish His Kingdom among the human species as a whole. It was to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth. That is the objective of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”[22]

It was the mission of Jesus to spread the Kingdom of God to all the world, just as God covenanted to Abraham: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”[23]

But that can only happen when there is an awakening of the human spirit to its true moral purpose and its true moral destiny. And that requires that we recognize that we are here to fulfil the purpose of God; God is not there to fulfil whatever purpose we may choose for our own lives. As Jesus said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”[24]

Only when we begin to do the same will the Kingdom of God be established on Earth.

Regrettably, it seems that is unlikely to happen any time soon. And we may just commit collective suicide before we even get a chance to try.

So although the Kingdom of God will not be ushered in at the end of the world, failure to live by its principles may just have the effect of causing the end of the world. That is the message of the Law and the prophets.

Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

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

Notes:

[1] Luke 2: 47.

[2] Mat 5: 17 & 18.

[3] Mat 10: 6.

[4] Luke 9: 27; Mat 16: 28; Mark 9: 1.

[5] Mat 6: 33; Luke 12: 31.

[6] Mat 7:13 & 14; 13: 39.

[7] Mat 7: 7; Luke 11: 9.

[8] Luke 17: 20 & 21 (my emphasis).

[9] Deuteronomy 30: 11 – 14 (my emphasis).

[10] Deuteronomy 5: 22.

[11] Mat 13: 31, 32; Mark 4: 30; Luke 13: 18.

[12] Mat 13: 33; Luke 13: 20.

[13] John 1: 1 & 2.

[14] Proverbs 8: 22 & 23; and see 3: 19 ff.

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

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

[17] Mat 13:22.

[18] Mat 4:1 – 11.

[19] Proverbs 8: 35 & 36.

[20] Revelations 22: 14.

[21] Mat 16: 26.

[22] Mat 6: 10.

[23] Genesis 22: 18.

[24] John 6: 30.

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

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

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

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

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

Insight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This ability is described as insight.

Insight in science

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philosophical insight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religious insight – revelation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where did this “moral faculty” come from?

But how did this information get into the brain?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insight Explained

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

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

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

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

The “human calculator” – Scott Flansburg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knowing things we never learned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Tammet – “Brainman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genetic memory?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do they ‘see’?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The human mind as an image of the universal mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

That is what we will address in the next article.

———————————————————–

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

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[11] Rees, ibid, page 1.

[12] Weinberg, ibid, page 67.

[13] Weinberg, ibid, page 67.

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

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

[16] Various internet sources quoting Einstein.

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

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

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

[20] Psalm 46:10.

[21] Deuteronomy 30:10 – 14.

[22] Luke 17; 21 – my emphasis.

[23] Romans 2: 14 & 15.

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

[25] Weinberg, ibid, page 32.

[26] Proverbs 3: 19.

[27] Proverbs 8: 22 & 23

[28] Isaiah 40: 26 – my emphasis

[29] Rees, ibid, page 4.

[30] John 1: 1 – 4.

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

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

[33] Rees, ibid, page 37.

[34] Treffert, ibid, page 55.

[35] Treffert, ibid,page 12.

[36] Treffert, ibid, page 57.

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

[38] Treffert, ibid, page 59.

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

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

[41] Treffert, ibid, page 163.

[42] Treffert, ibid, pages 35 and 110

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

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

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

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

[47] Gospel of Thomas verse 3.

[48] Luke 17: 21.

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

[50] Jeremiah 1:1.

[51] Daniel 1:17.

[52] Philo, Decalogue, XXXIII (175)

[53] Wood, ibid, page 75.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Temptation

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

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

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

We should set out the whole account of this transformation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Succumbing to Temptation activates the Neurological Moral Network

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

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

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

Well plenty, actually.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consequences of activating the neurological moral network

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Legacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cain and Abel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

Notes

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

[2] Genesis 3: 1 – 7.

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

[4] Grayling, page 205.

[5] Grayling, page 206.

[6] Grayling, page 201.

[7] Grayling, page 202.

[8] Grayling, page 193.

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

[10] Genesis 3: 6.

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

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

[13] Genesis 3: 7.

[14] Genesis 3: 17.

[15] Genesis 3: 19.

[16] Genesis 4: 7.

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

[18] Genesis 4: 16.

[19] Genesis 4: 17.

[20] Genesis 4: 20.

[21] Genesis 12: 3.

[22] Genesis 22:18.

A Question of Faith?

Faith is a central pillar of most religions. But what does it really mean?

There are those who argue that faith is not a function of evidence or proof. For want of a better description, we could call this ‘blind faith’. There are proponents of this kind of faith in most religions.

‘Blind faith’ is a curious approach. It requires absolute belief that something is true, without any evidence to support that belief, then uses the thing believed in as ‘evidence’ of the claims it makes.

We find such an approach in Islam, for example. The starting point is the statement of faith, the ‘Shahada’, which must be recited by converts to Islam. It declares that there is no god but Allah, and that Mohammed is his prophet. From that follows a belief that the Koran is the word of God as revealed to Mohammed. The Koran then becomes the ‘evidence’ of the claim that Allah is the one true God, and that Mohammed is his prophet.

This kind of approach does not begin by examining the claim that the Koran is the word of God to determine whether there is any evidence to support that claim, and then forming a view on the evidence. It does it the other way round. It makes the claim, then uses the book as evidence to support the claim. In other words, you begin by believing, without any evidence, that the book is the word of God, then point to passages in the book as ‘evidence’ of the claim.

However, the approach is not unique to Islam. We find a similar thing in Christianity and Judaism.

Few people, I suspect, who convert to Christianity or Judaism, do so because they have examined the evidence and concluded that the evidence justifies their belief in the claims made by those religions.

Of course, there have been those in all these religions who have sought to provide evidential support for the claims made by their respective religions. But mostly, they have sought to identify the evidence to support their already held beliefs, not formed their beliefs following an examination of the evidence. Although there are exceptions.

That raises the question of whether faith can, or should, have any role in determining what we believe, and how we conduct our lives as a consequence of what we believe.

In recent times, people have been conditioned to believe that if something can’t be proved, then it is simply untrue, or not worthy of further consideration. That has one of two broad effects. Either, people simply reject religion entirely, or they resort to something closely resembling blind faith.

But the conviction that faith is incompatible with proof is an entirely false distinction. In fact, without faith, every system of justice on the planet would cease to function.

That statement may appear counter-intuitive, because most people associate justice and the courts with evidence and proof. But that is not the whole story.

As any litigation attorney would acknowledge, there is no such thing as an open and shut case. And that is in spite of the fact that no case has to be proved with absolute certainty.

There are two broad standards of legal proof in the Anglo-American legal tradition: ‘on a balance of probabilities’ for civil cases; and ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ for criminal cases.

As a consequence, in a civil trial, for example, a judge or jury has to decide whether it is more likely than not that the evidence supports one or other party to a dispute. To make that judgment, they have to weigh up the evidence, and that includes making assessments as to the truthfulness of witnesses. But making such assessments is a subjective process. One person may find a particular witness entirely credible, while another person will find that same witness entirely shifty and unreliable. In the end, it is for the judge or jury to make a decision. However, as convinced as they may be that the evidence supports one side or the other, their decision still comes down to a question of belief – whose case they believe is more persuasive. That means that their decision is really a matter of ‘faith’. They cannot know for certain that their decision is right.

In the criminal courts, the situation is the same. Although the standard of proof is the higher standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, that does not mean beyond a shadow of a doubt, or with one hundred percent certainty. Even where DNA evidence, for example, shows that the defendant must have been responsible for the crime, there are other questions. Were the DNA samples contaminated or inadvertently substituted with other samples? Was there deliberate tampering with the DNA evidence?

The same applies to what some would consider absolute proof. What if there is video evidence capturing the defendant shooting the victim dead? The problem with that evidence is that it only goes to one element of a crime, the act itself, which lawyers call the actus reus. The prosecution also has to prove that the defendant possessed the appropriate mental state (mens rea) to commit the crime. And there is an array of defenses in respect of the mental element, from lack of intention, insanity, self-defense, provocation etc.

The point being that however convincing a case may seem at first, any half-decent litigation lawyer can raise any number of doubts in the minds of the judge and jury. And it doesn’t matter how convinced one person may be, others may harbor substantial and well-founded doubts. So again, it comes down to belief. And the law recognizes that fact by setting standards of proof that do not require absolute certainty.

The final judgment of the judge or jury, which may cause another human being to be cast into prison for the rest of his life, or even terminate his life, is simply a matter of faith that they have made the right decision on the evidence. In fact, the whole judicial system rests on faith that ‘justice will be done’.

Faith is therefore the cornerstone of justice. Without it, the legal system would simply grind to a halt. And those who have to exercise this kind of faith carry a heavy burden. The consequences of exercising their faith can be extreme; a matter of freedom or incarceration, even of life and death.

So faith is not just some feeble excuse to believe something in spite of the evidence. It is an essential element of human behavior. It is integral to the human character. It reaches into every human activity, from who we choose to marry, to where we choose to live, to our careers, jobs, car, and to everything else we do in life.

The important thing is that we exercise faith after careful consideration of the evidence. But in the end, every decision is a matter of faith. And religion is no different. Faith should follow a careful consideration of the evidence.

That is why I employed a rigorous legal methodology to evaluate the evidence of God in my latest book, A ‘Final Theory’ of God. The legal method is tried and tested, and has endured the ravages of time and history. It is the only really workable approach when there are limits to human knowledge.

So faith and proof are not diametrically opposed concepts. They are inter-related and inter-dependent. Each depends on the other.

But in the end, after careful consideration of the evidence, we always have to apply a measure of faith.

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Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

http://josephbhmcmillan.com

 

A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part V): Science in Genesis – Day Four

Day Four confirms that the process of transforming the quantum universe into the Classical universe was complete. And according to Genesis, central to the process was the observation element of quantum physics. However, we don’t need to resort to some clever interpretation of the words to find reference to the observation element; it is there in plain language – “And God saw …”

Given the importance of those words, this would be an opportune moment to consider in a little more detail the significance of the words “And God said …” followed by “And God saw …”

“And God said …” – “And God saw …”

For those with a detailed understanding of physics, let me apologize in advance for what may seem a rather basic summary of these two concepts.

When scientists refer to quantum physics in contrast to Classical physics, the term Classical physics is used to include special and general relativity; in other words, it comprises the laws that apply from the level of isolated atoms and molecules through to the cosmic world of planets, stars and galaxies. Thus Classical physics refers to the laws that determine the predictable, deterministic world we see all around us.

Quantum physics, on the other hand, relates to the behavior of sub-atomic particles like electrons, photons and quarks. These particles make up everything we know as ordinary matter and, as Weinberg says, scientists study these fundamental particles because they believe that by doing so they “will learn something about the PRINCIPLES that govern everything.”[1]

The first thing to note about fundamental particles is that they are not like tiny grains of sand. They are more like waves. Scientists call this property of a particle its wavefunction. The wavefunction determines that a particle is free to adopt any one of all probable states. As the physicist Brian Greene says, “a particle can hang in a state of limbo between having one or other particular property … and only when the particle is looked at (measured or observed) does it randomly commit to one definite property or another.”[2]

There is thus a two-stage process that determines the physical universe.

First, particles are free to choose from all probable states. Second, only when a particle is observed will it choose one specific state.

Many physicists believe that this is the basis for what we describe as “free will.” The popular television physicist, Michio Kaku, describes the effect of quantum physics by saying that 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.”[3] That establishes freedom as a fundamental principle of physics, or at least quantum physics.

However, Kaku also says that “physicists realize that if [they] could somehow control these probabilities, one could perform feats indistinguishable from magic.”[4]

That is an important remark which leads to another aspect of particle behavior that we ought to consider.

It relates to what are described as delayed-choice experiments. In these experiments, particles are fired through a beam splitter at a detector. When the detector is switched off, the particles show an interference pattern demonstrating that they are in a wave-like mode. However, when the detector is switched on, the particles pass through one or other slit on the splitter and appear as a dot. That means they are in a particle-like mode because they have assumed a specific state after being measured (observed) by the detector.

But when this experiment is modified, the behavior of particles becomes even more peculiar. If the detector is switched off after the particle has been emitted, the particle appears to predict that the detector will be switched off before it is fired, and adopts a wave-like state. If the detector is programmed to randomly switch on and off as particles are fired at it, the particles always correctly predict whether the detector will be switched on or off when they arrive. Brian Greene notes that the particles appear to “have a ‘premonition’ of the experimental situation they will encounter farther downstream, and act accordingly.”[5]

Greene goes on to say that these experiments suggest that “a consistent and definite history becomes manifest only after the future to which it leads has been fully settled.”[6]

Further modifications to the experiments make the behavior of particles even more bizarre. By placing a tagging device in front of the slits it is possible to determine through which slit a particle travelled. That is a form of manipulating the particle to behave in a certain way. However, if an erasing device is placed just in front of the detector, the tagging is undone and an interference pattern again appears of the detector screen. As Greene says, this has the effect of “undoing the past, even undoing the ancient past.[7] But it does not actually change what happened in the past, it means that “the future helps shape the story you tell of the past.”[8]

This may sound a little strange, but it is actually what happens in everyday life. Let’s take an example.

If you make a decision to go to university to get a degree, you give yourself a kind of instruction as to how you want the immediate future of your life to progress. You then apply, are offered a place, and start your course. At this stage, your objective of getting a degree is not at all ‘settled’. It is only “fully settled”, or achieved, when you sit your final exams, they are marked (‘measured’) and you pass, and are awarded the degree. The awarding of the degree creates “a consistent and definite history” because “the future to which [your initial decision] leads has been fully settled.” Conversely, at any time before you sit your final exams and pass, your objective of getting a degree is not “fully settled”; any number of things could intervene to prevent that happening. And if that happens, you revert to the original position of having to make a decision on what to do next. Your past decision to get a degree is “undone.” Like the particle in a wave-like mode, an “interference pattern[9] again appears in your life.

However, as Greene also points out, this does not change the fact that you originally made a decision to go to university, it only tells a different story of what happened in relation to that initial decision – “the future [that did not result in a degree] helps shape the story you tell of [your past decision to get a degree].”

Our lives are generally segmented into just such a set of objectives that we work to achieve. Each segment is like the “days” described in Genesis, including the “seventh day”, when God is said to have rested from all His work. We humans retire.

What this tells us is that ‘locking-in’ the future is important to create the deterministic universe of Classical physics. And that can only be done by an observation, the equivalent of your final examination being marked, and being awarded a degree.

Relationship between “the evening and the morning” and the words “And God said …” followed by “And God saw …”

The delayed-choice experiments reveal how the probabilities inherent in particles could be manipulated or controlled.

Particles appear able to ‘know’ what the future environment will look like when the detector is switched on. That tells us that the mere fact of the detector being in a position to observe somehow gives an ‘instruction’ to the particles about the future environment they will encounter, which compels them to adopt the necessary state to prepare for that environment. It’s exactly like making the decision to get a degree. We don’t go to university then wonder what we should do there. We go to university with the objective of establishing the future we envisage – a life with a degree.

So it seems that the observation element in Genesis, the words “And God saw …”, is what compels the particles to form the necessary structures to conform to the future environment the observation element communicates to them. It’s like the detector being switched on, or the decision to get a degree. The intention is what causes the preparation for the future environment.

The words to describe a “day” seem to confirm that. Placing “the evening” before “the morning” tells us that the future event (God saw) informs the preceding event (God said), just like the detector being switched on compels particles to adopt a specific state, or the decision to get a degree informs our actions today in order to achieve our intended objective in the future.

When we look at Genesis in that way, the peculiar wording seems entirely sensible.

The words “And God said …” indicate that there has been a manipulation of matter to adopt a particular path with a specific objective. Up to Day Four, the objective was to transform the quantum laws into Classical laws so as to create the ordered, predictable and deterministic world that is a prerequisite for what was to follow. And once that was achieved, the system was made definite with an observation – “And God saw …”

The first chapter of Genesis records a series of such stages to the creation of the universe and, as we shall see, life itself. It provides the kind of “quantum-mechanical model” Steven Weinberg says is required to explain how the universe came into being.

Weinberg suggests that physicists need to construct a “quantum-mechanical model” that shows how, “as a result of repeated interactions of a [conscious outside observer] with individual systems, the wave function of the combined system evolves with certainty to a final wave function, in which the [conscious outside observer] has become convinced that the probabilities of the individual measurements are what are prescribed by the Copenhagen interpretation.[10]

Now that may all sound like gobbledygook to non-scientists, but all it really means is that we need an explanation of how the uncertainty inherent in the quantum laws that apply to fundamental particles have brought about the predictable, deterministic physical world we see all around us. And that explanation has to include an explanation for the necessity for a conscious outside observer in order to ensure that particles adopt a particle-like state; but not just any particle-like state, but the state that brought about the universe and life as we know it.

It is hard to imagine a better model than the opening chapter of Genesis.

Day Four thus starts with a confirmation that what had taken place in the first three “days” provided a predictable and deterministic world which operated according to predictable and deterministic laws. That confirmation comes with the opening verse.

“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:” [Genesis 1: 14]

The reference to the “lights in the firmament” being for “signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” makes it clear that the workings of the universe were such that they provided the basis for predictable measurement. But the reference to the word “signs” is more intriguing. The word “signs” follows the words “to divide the day from the night.” The reference is clearly linking what happened in “day” one with “day” four, thus pointing the reader back to “day” one for an explanation of how the predictable universe came into being. And that is made even more explicit in verse 18 (day four) which repeats exactly the words in verse 4 (day one) – that the light was to divide “the light from the darkness.”

This verse tells us that the laws that operate on earth, and in our solar system, are the same laws that operate across the entire universe. In science it is called “translational symmetry”, which, Greene notes, enables us to “learn about fundamental laws at work in the entire universe without straying from home, since the laws we discover here are those laws.”[11]

Day four therefore confirms that “symmetries are the foundation from which laws spring.”[12] That means that everything in the universe is equally subject to the same laws, including human beings.

So Day Four gives us the second fundamental principle of morality, the principle that is the foundation of justiceequality under the law.

Up until now, therefore, Genesis has set out the first two fundamental principles of morality. Day One gave us the principle that is the objective of government, Freedom under the Law, and Day Four gives us the principle that is the objective of justice, Equality under the Law. The inscription on the Supreme Court building in Washington DC proclaims the principle as “Equal justice under law”, but the meaning is the same.

There is then only one further thing to note about Day Four.

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

The lights were to “give light upon the earth.” Light was a necessary ingredient for the next stage of the unfolding universe – transforming the primitive DNA that had been produced in Day Three into higher life-forms.

After our solar system had thus been made ready, the system was ‘locked-in’ with an observation – “And God saw that it was good.”[13] What scientists call the Goldilocks zone had been set up.

Day Four ends with the familiar words that define a “day” – “And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”[14] By the most recent scientific calculations, that would have been around 4.5 billion years ago – almost ten billion years after “the beginning”.

And so Day Four was “fully settled.”

The next article will address Day Five.

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

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

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[1] Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, Vintage, 1994 (paperback), page 61.

[2] Greene, Brian. The Fabric of the Cosmos, Penguin Books 2005 (paperback).

[3] Kaku, Michio. Parallel Worlds, Penguin Books 2006, page 149.

[4] Kaku, page 147.

[5] Greene, page 189.

[6] Greene, page 189.

[7] Greene, page 193.

[8] Greene, page 199.

[9] Greene, page 193.

[10] Weinberg, page 84.

[11] Greene, page 223 – (emphasis in bold is Greene’s)

[12] Greene, page 225

[13] Genesis 1: 18.

[14] Genesis 1: 19.

Government has become an Instrument to Legalize Sin

Now there are those who will scoff at the very mention of the word sin. But scoffing at sin is the same thing as scoffing at crime.

That is because crime is simply a human interpretation of sin. Crime has its origin in sin.

Judicial systems are an expression of our subconscious knowledge of right and wrong. Government is the mechanism we use to pass laws to give substance to that subconscious knowledge, and to prescribe appropriate consequences for violations. From earliest times, history testifies to the human quest for what we call justice – a more perfect set of laws that conforms to our inner knowledge of what is right and wrong, or good and evil.

That inner knowledge is based on certain fundamental underlying principles. Evidence of those principles can be found in the earliest legal codes from Hammurabi to the Ten Commandments, and the Edicts of Asoka, which demonstrate that the underlying principles have been entirely consistent throughout history.

Those who claim that our perceptions of right and wrong ‘evolve’ with social changes focus on the wrong issues. They focus on our interpretation of the fundamental underlying principles, and on the methods of proof and punishment, rather than on the principles themselves. In that respect, it should not be surprising that the methods of implementing the principles into systems of laws, and administering those laws and dispensing judgments, would reflect the times and the frailties of human beings.

So it is important to clearly distinguish between the underlying principles, and how human beings interpret those principles

The great Jewish philosopher, Philo Judaeus, made this distinction clear in respect of the Ten Commandments: “for it was suitable to [God’s] own nature to promulgate in his own person the heads and principles of all particular laws, but to send forth the particular and special laws by the most perfect of the prophets, whom he selected for his preeminent excellence, and filled with his divine spirit, and then appointed to be the interpreter of his holy oracles.”[1]

Philo recognized that the underlying principles are immutable and certain. It is the interpretation and implementation of those principles that are imperfect and corruptible.

That is the proper distinction between crime and sin. Sin is a violation of a fundamental principle, while crime is a violation of a human interpretation of an underlying principle. But there is a more destructive element to human law. Not only is the interpretation of the underlying principles susceptible to human mischief, human beings are also adept at circumventing the very principles on which the laws should be founded in order to serve their own particular interests, appetites, and ambitions.

The reason for this relates to the structure of the human brain. The brain comprises three principal faculties: instinct, reason and morality. These three faculties are clearly identified in Genesis 1: 26 – 31, as explained in the article Perspectives on the Scriptures: Genesis Day Six – Programming Human DNA: Morality, Reason and Instinct.

Instincts are indisputable; we are born with them. Human instincts are mostly indistinguishable from animal instincts – reproduction, survival and security. But humans have additional, peculiarly human, instincts, principally the instinct to conquer. Instincts are activated by the prospect of pleasure, or the fear of pain.

Morality is the counterbalance to instincts. It is our inner knowledge of right and wrong. Morality is a manifestation of our innate knowledge of the fundamental principles of right and wrong. The evidence for morality is everywhere – in our great legislative bodies, in our courts of law, in our religious institutions, the work of charities and philanthropists, and even in the writings of our great philosophers. That is because those principles are imprinted into our brains as a neurological moral network, or what the British IVF pioneer, Sir Robert Winston, calls a “morality module.” That network converts the raw mathematical data imprinted in our brains into moral principles, and enables us to judge our actions in accordance with those principles – if we choose to do so. When a fundamental principle of morality is violated, we experience a sense of guilt.

Finally there is reason. No one would dispute the human ability to reason, even if it is rather abstruse on occasion. But reason is a neutral faculty. More reason does not guarantee a better outcome, just as less reason doesn’t guarantee a worse outcome. Those who make the greatest sacrifice for others don’t generally rationalize their way to the sacrifice; they simply respond to what they know deep down is the right thing to do, even if it means sacrificing their own lives.

Reason in the service of morality is what makes an action right, or good, while reason in the service of instinct is what, on the whole, makes an action wrong, or evil. Reason in the service of instinct can justify anything. And more crucially, it will find justification for indulging certain primitive instincts in spite of the guilt. Reason is all too often employed to silence the guilt generated by morality in order to indulge the prospect of pleasure to be had by servicing some or other primitive instinct. Reason in the absolute service of instinct, without any reference to morality, is what we would call pure evil. It is most evident in psychopaths.

It is thus reason in the service of instinct, in varying degrees, that provides the basis of crime, and indeed other acts we consider unlawful.

There are two distinct aspects to crime. One is the physical act itself, and the other is the mental element that initiates the act. In law, this mental element is called the mens rea, or guilty mind. It relates directly to reason – intention, recklessness or negligence. It is not hard to identify most crimes and unlawful acts as being examples of reason in the service of instinct without regard to the guilt generated by morality. The action only becomes unlawful because someone commits an act knowing it to be wrong, or not caring whether it is wrong.

However, it would be delusional to think that human beings only become aware that certain actions are wrong when a law is passed to declare them so (the Thomas Hobbes view). If human beings don’t know that certain actions are wrong, then they wouldn’t know that there should be a law to prohibit them. That is how instinct operates in animals.

Our knowledge that certain actions are wrong precedes making the action a criminal offence. It is the presumption that everyone knows, or should know, that the action is wrong that forms the basis of the offence in the first place. We know that actions are wrong because they generate a sense of guilt if we even consider committing them, and we feel a sense of revulsion when such acts are committed by others.

The evidence is thus incontrovertible. This innate knowledge of wrong, that is made known to us by our “morality module” generating a sense of guilt, is what is more commonly described as sin. And how we translate that innate knowledge into rules of conduct for human interaction is what we call crime. The former is the more perfect version; the latter the more imperfect.

But it is the latter that provides the platform to attack the former. The perception today, and it is a perception those averse to any restraint on their actions are eager to promote, is that wrong is an entirely legislative prerogative. In this view, the only things that can be wrong are those things that the government tells us are wrong. And that is done through legislation.

Anything that is not prohibited by law must be permissible. Something not prohibited by law cannot therefore be wrong, even if it generates a sense of guilt. It is this rather warped and artificial conception of what is wrong that facilitates the legalization of sin. Adultery is a poignant example.

By predicating the whole concept of wrong on legislation, guilt is ridiculed as an emotional reaction of no real consequence. Guilt is portrayed as an artificial and self-inflicted condition because, it is asserted, it must be irrational to feel guilty about indulging in an act that is not specifically prohibited by law. And reason can easily be employed to justify this kind of self-deception.

Once the majority of people are persuaded that guilt is irrelevant unless it is a function of a legislative prohibition, then legislation becomes an instrument to suppress our innate sense of right and wrong. Sin is vanquished. And we become a Godless species of moral mutes in bondage to our primitive instincts. We thus lose our freedom to choose between right and wrong, and become slaves to the moral indifference of those with only the most tenuous connection to their own neurological moral networks, or indeed, totally disconnected from them.

However, this does not mean that morality will cease to exist. That is because the fundamental principles of morality are simply an expression of the moral dimension of the fundamental principles of physics. We can only delude ourselves for so long that we can somehow invent the laws of morality, just as we deluded ourselves about our knowledge of the laws of physics, and most likely continue to do.

Those who propagate this subjective distortion of right and wrong, and those who eagerly subscribe to the distortion, should be under no illusion that the consequences of ignoring the laws of morality will be the same as ignoring the laws of physics – disaster.

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

[1] Philo, Decalogue, XXXIII (175).

UPDATE to A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part IV): Science in Genesis – Day Three

I had barely posted this article when I became aware of an article that claims researchers at MIT had proved that atoms naturally produce life.

The article claims that the new theory … proposes that when a group of atoms is exposed for a long time to a source of energy, it will restructure itself to dissipate more energy. The emergence of life might not be the luck of atoms arranging themselves in the right way, it says, but an inevitable event if the conditions are correct.

The title of the article is this: New Theory could prove how life began and disprove God.

As I say in my article, that is precisely the concern I had for the “intelligent design” argument. They have based their argument on the wrong evidence. Now it is about to be demolished. That will set back belief in God for decades, if not millennia, to come.

The article has got it entirely wrong, of course. The author/s of Genesis set out precisely how and why atoms naturally produce life. The laws that determine the behavior of atoms were established well before atoms were ‘programmed’, or had the properties, to “restructure” anything.

Freedom is the principle that determines how particles and atoms behave. Freedom is the very basis of the laws that govern the universe. But when freedom is the foundation of the law, some other aspect or consequence of the law cannot compel particles, or atoms, to form structures that violate the very basis of the law.

As with any law that is the very foundation of all other laws, only the Lawmaker can compel otherwise free entities to adopt the structures that render them, to an extent, ‘unfree’.

That has been a dilemma that has taxed the minds of jurists since the beginning of time. How can we be free, yet be subject to a law?

That is what my series of articles explains. But to attempt to ‘construct’ a notion of God without reference to the only real source of evidence for a God, the Bible, is doomed to failure. And I fear that is exactly where the “intelligent design” argument is going.

Why will they resist finding the evidence in the Scriptures? They should remember this: “But whosoever should deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10: 33)

For goodness sake, if there is some proof to be found of God, it will be found in the Scriptures, not in finding gaps in the scientific evidence in the hope that science will not be able to explain them.

That is what A ‘Final Theory’ of God does.

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An UPDATE to the previous article – A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part IV)

Based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God.

 

A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part IV): Science in Genesis – Day Three

By the end of Day Two, the material in the universe had not changed from the beginning of Day Two. The universe was still composed of hydrogen, helium and traces of beryllium and lithium. And there were photons of light.

The only thing that had changed was the concentration of the material in certain places in space. At the end of Day Two, the hydrogen, helium, beryllium and lithium were swirling around in gigantic “protogalaxies”. And between them were “voids” of empty space.

So everything was in place to start the next stage of building the universe and life. An account of that stage is set out in Day Three.

Here is the King James Version. And as we shall see, it is perfectly in line with the latest scientific discoveries.

  1. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
  2. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
  3. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
  4. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
  5. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

As is our usual practice, we’ll take each verse in turn. But before we do so, we should note an obvious difference between Day Three and the previous two “days”. Day Three has two stages in the process, each beginning with the words “And God said …” and concluding with the words “And God saw …”

That is an important distinction.

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”

First, we must identify what is meant by “the waters under the heaven.” This can only refer to the swirling “protogalaxies” of hydrogen, helium, beryllium and lithium. In other words, everything that was not a “void”, or ‘empty’ space.

All these “protogalaxies” would have been “under the heaven” in exactly the same sense that every star and planet is ‘under space’ when viewed from that particular star or planet. So “the waters under the heaven” can only refer to ALL the concentrations of matter swirling around in specific areas of space – the billions of “protogalaxies” comprising only the lighter elements.

It was this material, the hydrogen, helium, beryllium and lithium (together with the associated dark matter), that was to “be gathered together unto ONE place” in each “protogalaxy”. I emphasize the word “one” because we know from Day Two that “the waters” had already been separated into specific concentrations that formed the “protogalaxies”. So the description of the “protogalaxies” being “gathered together unto one place” can only mean that the matter forming these “protogalaxies” was being condensed by gravity into “one place”. And that was essential for the next stage of building the universe.

To understand why, we need to examine the conditions necessary to produce the number of elements required to create and sustain life – the elements that constitute the Periodic Table.

As we have already seen, the Big Bang created the lightest elements of hydrogen, helium, deuterium and lithium. However, it did not produce sufficient heat to produce the heavier elements. Furthermore, “… elements with 5 and 8 neutrons and protons are extremely unstable and hence cannot act as a ‘bridge’ to create elements that have a greater number of protons and neutrons.[1]

In the 1950’s, Fred Hoyle, an English physicist at Cambridge University, had a moment of ‘insight’ which went a way to resolving how the heavier elements could have been created. As Kaku says, “[i]n a stroke of genius, Hoyle realized that IF there were a previously unnoticed unstable form of carbon, created out of three helium nuclei, it might last just long enough to act as a ‘bridge,’ allowing for the creation of higher elements. … When this unstable form of carbon was actually found, it brilliantly demonstrated that nucleosynthesis could take place in the stars, rather than the big bang.[2]

However, not all stars are heavy enough to produce the heat necessary to create the heavier elements. This requires heavier stars with greater gravity. According to Rees, such stars can reach a “billion degrees” and thus “release further energy via the build-up of carbon (six protons), and by a chain of transmutations into progressively heavier nuclei.[3] But once we get to iron, which has the most “tightly bound” nucleus, “energy must be added” to create the even heavier elements beyond iron. And so, as Rees says, “a star therefore faces an energy crisis when its core is transmuted into iron … [and] …the consequences are dramatic.[4]

The intense gravity causes the core of the star to implode which “releases enough energy to blow off the overlying material in a colossal explosion – creating a supernova.[5]

The supernova then ‘fertilizes’, so to speak, the universe by blasting its mix of elements into space. “The debris thrown back into space contains this mix of elements. Oxygen is the most common, followed by carbon, nitrogen, silicon and iron. The calculated proportions … [depend on the] … types of stars and the various evolutionary paths they take …[6]

This mix of elements was a pre-requisite for life. As Kaku says, “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 that make up our body.”[7]

It is this mechanism for converting the lighter elements into all the heavier elements that make up the Periodic Table that Genesis is clearly referring to in this verse. When “the waters” (the lighter elements) are “gathered together unto one place”, the gravity becomes so intense that it creates a supernova; and in the process all the heavier elements are created and strewn across a specific area of the universe. This process would have been happening at different times and different places throughout the universe, and indeed is continuing to this day.

Genesis describes this change in the constitution of the matter into the heavier elements with the words “and let the dry land appear.”

The methodology is exactly in line with the methodology applied in Genesis up to this point. Likewise, the use of words to symbolize a change in the nature of a substance as it undergoes change is also entirely consistent with the linguistic technique. In this case, the contrast between “the waters” and “the dry land” is patently obvious – one is a more dense and heavy than the other.

But what we find when we get to the next verse is that not all “the waters” had been converted into “dry land”.

“And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

Here we see that both “the waters” and “the dry land” emerged from this process. And the change in the constitution of the material is again emphasized by God naming the material. In this case as “the Earth” and “Seas” – again in capitals.

This is the last instance when this naming takes place in Genesis. The message is therefore quite clear; all the material and forces necessary for a stable and predictable universe were in place. The naming, as we saw in Day One, indicates that the change in the structure and constitution of the universe was such that it had become certain. The quantum properties had been converted into the measurable and deterministic Classical laws. Another important point to note is that it is precisely this ‘conversion process’ that gave rise to our own planet Earth, as it did across the universe. So “the Earth” refers to the process in general, as well as telling us that our own planet was a consequence of precisely the same process. As Kaku says, our Sun, and the Earth, are the result of 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 that make up our body.”

Once the correct balance had been achieved, Genesis then tells us that it was made “irreversible” by an observation: “And God saw that it was good.”

The universe was now ready to embark on its true purpose.

As an analogy, instead of building a house, as we imagined in Day One, let’s imagine that we are building a factory, in this case, a cosmic factory. In Day One, all the material was delivered to site. In Day Two, all the materials were divided up and moved to where they were to be used. In Day Three, the materials were mixed and applied to build the factory. Now the cosmic factory is ready to start ‘manufacturing’ the product, the cosmic product – life.

The next stage of the origin of the universe and life set out by Genesis reveals truly remarkable insight by its author/s. And science is only now beginning to discover what Genesis revealed thousands of years ago.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”

On the face of it, Genesis appears to have departed from the established methodology followed up to this point. Although Genesis tells us all the elements that constitute the Periodic Table had been created, it appears that we are now skipping a number of processes and jumping straight to a description of plants and trees growing on the Earth; the kind of plants and trees we see outside our windows every day.

To understand this apparent departure from the methodology, we have to refer to certain verses at the beginning of Chapter Two. These verses summarize what had happened in the six days referred to in Chapter One, and describe what the Earth, planet Earth, looked like at the end of the six stage process. The verses are as follows:

  1. 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,
  2. 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.

Curiously, these two verses tell us that God had made “every plant of the field BEFORE it was in the earth, and every herb of the field BEFORE it grew

That can only mean that what is being described in Day Three are not plants, trees etc as we know them, because at the end of the six days, according to Genesis Chapter 2, no such things existed on Earth in the form we would recognize. God is said to have made them “before” they were in the earth, and “before” they grew. So what does all that mean?

For that we should revert again to the Best Evidence Rule – what did Jewish Scholars of old think it meant?

The great Jewish philosopher, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, who lived at about the same time as Jesus, says this about those verses:

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. For before the earth was green, he says that this same thing, verdure, existed in the nature of things, and before the grass sprang up in the field, there was grass though it was not visible. And we must understand in the case of everything else which is decided on by the external senses, there were elder forms and motions previously existing, according to which the things which were created were fashioned and measured out.[8]

In short, as Philo says, it was not trees and grass and herbs as we know them that were created, but the basic structures that were to become those things when the basic structures were introduced into the right environment. And that right environment is symbolized by the words “for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth.

So what were these “elder forms and motions” that were created in Day Three? And the answer is clearly the basic DNA structures that would be the “seals of the perfected works.” There can be no other explanation.

But that would mean that Genesis is telling us that the basic structure of DNA that would be the model for all life was actually created at about the same time as supernovae were ‘fertilizing’ the universe with the heavier elements. But that would directly contradict the Theory of Evolution, leaving it irrelevant.

Well, that is perhaps exactly where the theory of Evolution is destined.

Here’s a selection of the latest science that confirms the Genesis account.

In 2013, a team from Sheffield University, led by Professor Milton Wainwright, discovered organisms from space after sending a balloon into the high stratosphere. Wainwright noted that “If life does continue to arrive from space then we will have to completely change our view of biology and evolution.”[9]

Wainwright went on to say, “we can only conclude that the biological entities originated from space. Our conclusion then is that life is continually arriving to Earth from space, life is not restricted to this planet and almost certainly did not originate here.[10]

In a feature on 8th August 2011, NASA reported that “researchers have evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space. The research gives support to the theory that a ‘kit’ of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorite and comet impacts assisted the origin of life.[11]

But most important of all is an article in Science Daily on October 27, 2011, referring to work done by Professor Sun Kwok and Dr. Yong Zhang of the University of Hong Kong. As the article says, “Astronomers report in the journal Nature that organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the Universe. The results suggest that complex organic compounds are not the sole domain of life, but can be made naturally by stars.[12] The article goes on to note that, “by analyzing spectra of star dust formed in exploding stars called novae, [Kwok and Zhang] show that stars are making these complex organic compounds in extremely short time scales of weeks. Not only are stars producing this complex organic matter, they are also ejecting it into the general interstellar space, the region between stars.[13]

Kwok is quoted as saying, “our work has shown that stars have no problem making complex organic compounds under near vacuum conditions. Theoretically, this is impossible, but observationally we can see it happening.

These are only a few of the many findings of ‘life from space’. With missions to Mars and Saturn, it is likely that even more surprises may be in store for us. But what this evidence shows is that the Genesis account of when life was first ‘created’ is turning out to be very accurate. Even into the 1970’s, biologists were absolutely convinced that life could not exist without sunlight. That has been proved to be wrong. Until even more recently, the notion that life may not have evolved on Earth would have been met with ridicule. But it seems that the evidence is starting to point in precisely that direction. And if the evidence does keep building up, as Wainwright says, “we [will] have to completely change our view of biology and evolution.” And perhaps scientists will have to give at least a grudging acknowledgement to the author/s of Genesis for having ‘known’ all this many millennia ago.

We then come to the observation element of quantum physics.

“And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

Here we have confirmation that the basic structures of life, the basic DNA, were created and made “irreversible” with an observation. The particles and atoms were compelled to form the basic structures of life, and those structures were made permanent with an observation. Life was made “irreversible” right across the universe.

So when we come to the end of Day Three we find that we have our cosmic factory and cosmic machines; we also have the cosmic ingredients and the cosmic recipe; and now we get the first stage in the creation of the intended cosmic ‘product’ – life.

Day Three then ends with the usual allocation of a time-slice of the process.

“And the evening and the morning were the third day.

The time-slice here encompassed two distinct, but almost simultaneous, stages; the creation of the heavier elements, almost immediately followed by the creation of basic DNA. Quite incredible!

This evidence, which supports the Genesis account, is another reason why I fear that the “intelligent design” argument may be setting itself up for a fall. Having devoted so much of their energy to disputing the theory of Evolution, science may soon agree that the theory doesn’t constitute scientific evidence for the creation of life. But at the same time, science will have shown that life was created in the stars, and then developed once it encountered the right environment. And, of course, the argument will then be that the “intelligent design” argument was wrong in ascribing the creation of life to God.

In the next article we will look at Day Four as Genesis focuses in on our own solar system. But we will start with a closer look at the relationship between quantum theory and the words “And God said …” followed by “And God saw …”

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

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

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[1] Kaku, Parallel Worlds (paperback), page 56.

[2] Kaku, page 62 – emphasis on IF is mine.

[3] Rees, Just Six Numbers (paperback), page 50.

[4] Rees, page 50.

[5] Rees, page 50.

[6] Rees, page 50.

[7] Kaku, page 67.

[8] Philo, On the Creation, XLIV, 129 – 130.

[9] Wainwright, Reported Press Association, 19 September, 2013.

[10] Wainwright, Ibid.

[11] http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/dna-meteorites_prt.htm.

[12] Science Daily, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026143721.htm.

[13] Science Daily, Ibid.

A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part III): Science in Genesis – Day Two

The key to understanding the account of Day Two in Genesis is the word in verse 6 that has been translated as “the firmament.”

Again, for ease of reference, here is the full account of Day Two. References are to the King James Version.

  1. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
  2. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
  3. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Methodology

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

But we now find no mention of “light” and “darkness.” Instead we have reference to “the waters” again.

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

Following the methodology, it is clear that “the waters” refer to what existed at the end of Day One – “light” and “darkness”. In other words, photons of light, and those excess particles that could not find an anti-particle to enable them to convert into photons.

But there is a further aspect of “the darkness”. Physicists now know that there is also dark matter. They have no idea what it is yet, but it is evident because of the amount of gravity that would be required to create stars and galaxies. There is simply insufficient ordinary matter to create the necessary gravity.

Furthermore, the heat of the Big Bang had caused the fundamental particles to form into the lighter elements. As Brian Greene says, physicists calculate that “by the time the universe was a couple of minutes old, it was filled with a nearly uniform hot gas composed of roughly 75 percent hydrogen, 23 percent helium, and small amounts of deuterium and lithium.[1]

So “the waters” can only refer to both ordinary and dark matter, as well as the photons of light. And as we saw in Day One, water has always been associated with life. Without it, life as we know it could not exist.

By the time we get to Day Two, all this matter and light would have been spread out across the huge but embryonic universe. Martin Rees describes this initial state of the universe as follows: “when the universe was a million years old, everything was still expanding almost uniformly.[2] It is into this “almost uniformly” expanding universe that God is said to have inserted “a firmament.

We now come to one of the many remarkable aspects of the origins of the universe according to Genesis. The original Hebrew for the word that is translated as “firmament” is actually “expansion.” The Hebrew is raqiya`, which loosely means to hammer out something small into something large.

It is not surprising that translators of the Bible would have sought to use other words instead of the original. So we find all sorts of alternative descriptions of the word “expansion” – a “vault”, an “expanse”, a “space”, a “canopy”, and even a “horizon.”

However, in the late 1970’s, the scientific concept of expansion was proposed by Alan Guth and Henry Tye. After that, Biblical scholars began to debate whether the word “expansion” in verse 6 could possibly relate to the scientific concept of expansion. And not surprisingly, the answers vary depending on the position being taken.

In law, however, we have what is known as the Best Evidence Rule. It requires that the best evidence should be adduced in support of a case. So if the dispute relates, for example, to the construction of a word in a contract, the best evidence would be contemporaneous evidence of what the parties understood the word to mean, not what subsequent parties may claim it means in hindsight.

Applying that rule to the meaning of “expansion”, the best evidence would be what early Jewish scholars thought it meant.

Some seven hundred years before Guth and Tye came up with the expansion theory, the great Jewish Scholar, Nahmanides (1194 – 1270 AD), said this in his commentary on Genesis Chapter One: “… At the briefest instant following creation all the matter of the universe was concentrated in a very small place, no larger than a grain of mustard. … From the initial concentration of this intangible substance in its minute location, the substance expanded, expanding the universe as it did so. As the expansion progressed, a change in the substance occurred. This initially thin noncorporeal substance took on the tangible aspects of matter as we know it. From this initial act of creation, from this etherieally thin pseudosubstance, everything that has existed, or will ever exist, was, is, and will be formed.[3]

Now that is quite unambiguous.

Genesis 1: 6 should thus read, “And God said, Let there be an expansion in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

Consequently we now have a very different reading of this verse. The “expansion” was to “divide the waters from the waters”. In other words, the “expansion” was to separate “the waters”, and concentrate the separated “waters” into different places.

And that is precisely what then happens.

“And God made the firmament (expansion), and divided the waters which were under the firmament (expansion) from the waters which were above the firmament (expansion): and it was so.”

This verse clearly suggests a pre-existing state in which certain parts of “the waters” were already in different places – “under” or “above”. That would have been a consequence of what happened in Day One. And Day One was about inflationary cosmology.

Greene identifies one specific consequence of inflationary cosmology which was crucial to the formation of the universe as we now see it.

According to Greene, “the initial nonuniformity that ultimately resulted in the formation of stars and galaxies came from quantum mechanics.”[4] As we saw in the previous article, fields, like particles, are also subject to quantum phenomena, so the “rate of change” of a field is not uniform but “will undulate up or down” at various speeds, or “assume a strange mixture of many different rates of change, and hence its value will undergo a frenzied, fuzzy, random jitter.”[5] This means that the “amount of energy in one location would have been a bit different to what it was in another.”[6]

These small differences in the quantum world of the pre-inflationary universe were then amplified by inflationary expansion, causing certain areas of the expanding universe to be more ‘dense’ in particles and energy than others. This has been confirmed by measurements of the temperature differences of microwave photons arriving from space. Greene says that “observations have shown that … tiny temperature differences fill out a particular pattern on the sky ..,[7] which confirms that there were slight differences in the density of matter and energy in different locations in the universe. And these variations were “set down nearly 14 billion years ago … [and arose] from quantum uncertainty.”[8]

Greene attributes this to the inflaton (Higgs) field, which scientists now believe was the engine for inflationary expansion in the earliest moments of the universe. According to Greene, the inflaton field “reached the value of lowest energy at different places at slightly different moments. In turn, inflationary expansion shut off at slightly different times at different locations in space, so that the amount of spatial expansion at different locations varied slightly …”[9]

The result was that there were different densities of matter and energy in different regions of space. Rees says that this meant that the “slightly overdense regions, expanding slower than average, were destined to become galaxies and clusters; others, slightly underdense, were destined to become voids.”[10]

So describing some of ‘the waters’ as being in different places – “under” or “above” – in relation to the “expansion,” perfectly corresponds to scientific theory. Without it, the universe as we know it, and life itself, could not exist.

However, in order for the expansion to have the effect of forming the denser areas of matter and energy into concentrations strong enough to create galaxies and stars, the expansion energy had to be finely balanced in relation to the concentrations of matter and radiation, and the gravity that pulled them together. If the expansion energy was too powerful, the matter would not have had the time or strength to form. It would simply have continued to expand outward leaving nothing. If the expansion force had been too weak, all the matter and energy would have condensed together again, collapsing the universe back into its initial state. As Rees says, in the former case, the “universe would be inert and structureless”; and in the latter case, “it would have been a violent place in which no stars or solar systems could survive …[11]

Greene describes this interaction between matter and energy as follows: “as the universe expands, matter and radiation lose energy to gravity while an inflaton field gains energy from gravity.”[12] This is because the “total energy carried by ordinary particles of matter and radiation drops because it is continually transferred to gravity as the universe expands. … gravity depletes the energy in fast moving particles of matter and radiation as space swells.[13] On the other hand, “a uniform inflaton field exerts a negative pressure within an expanding universe. … [thus] the total energy embodied in the inflaton field increases as the universe expands because it extracts energy from gravity.”[14]

But all these elements had to be finely balanced for this process to take place. And for that to happen, the timing had to be precise. The initial inflationary burst that caused the Big Bang had to end at the right moment for expansion to take over. As Rees’ says: “The fierce repulsion that drove inflation must have switched off, allowing the universe, having by then enlarged enough to encompass everything that we now see, to embark on its more leisurely expansion.[15]

It is at that point that Genesis says there was an intervention. It is quite remarkable that Genesis does separate the initial “inflation” we discussed in Day One, from the “expansion” which is said to start in Day Two. And Genesis describes this process quite simply, but entirely accurately, by saying that the expansion “divided the waters which were under the firmament (expansion) from the waters which were above the firmament (expansion): and it was so.

The account of Day Two could be summed up by this statement from Rees: “after half a million years of expansion, the temperature dropped to around 3,000 degrees … As the universe cooled further, it literally entered a dark age … [which] persisted until the first protogalaxies formed and lit it up again.”[16]

Genesis then brings the account of Day Two to an end, with God naming what He is said to have made.

“And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”

An important point to note in this verse is that there is a crucial difference in the account of Day Two to that of Day One, and indeed all the other “days”. In Day Two there is no mention of the words “And God saw …”

There is good reason for that. At this stage the “protogalaxies” that had formed contained only the lighter elements of hydrogen, helium, and traces of beryllium and lithium. The Big Bang did not produce sufficient heat to produce the heavier elements. That would require supernovae.

However, since Genesis directly links the origin of life to supernovae, these two phenomena are dealt with together in Day Three. And remarkably, as we shall see in the next article, science is only now beginning to recognize this link.

It was thus important that there should not be an observation at this stage. The process had to continue to the formation of supernovae before the state of the universe was ‘locked-in’ with an observation.

But we do have the naming we had in Day One: “And God called the firmament Heaven.” As we have already noted, this naming (always with a capital letter) signifies a change from the state of the universe as at the start of the ‘day’. At the start of Day Two there were “the waters” into which was inserted an “expansion”. At the end of Day Two the “expansion” had divided “the waters”, resulting in what God is said to call “Heaven”. We should now recall what Rees said about the effect of the density differences in matter and energy in different parts of space: “slightly overdense regions, expanding slower than average, were destined to become galaxies and clusters; others, slightly underdense, were destined to become voids’.[17]

The “voids” are clearly what Genesis calls “Heaven” – those areas of space that were left ‘free’ of matter. And the naming suggests that this state of “protogalaxies” and “voids” constituted the next step in converting the quantum laws into the predictable and deterministic Classical laws. As Greene says, “according to inflation, the more than 100 billion galaxies, sparkling throughout space like heavenly diamonds, are nothing but quantum mechanics writ large across the sky.[18]

The account of Day Two then ends with a measure of the time this process took to play out: “the evening and the morning were the second day.

According to Rees’ depiction of the time-line of the universe, Day Two would have ended about one billion years after the Big Bang.[19] So the “the evening and the morning” of Day Two were approximately one billion years less the 300,000 years for Day One.

In the next article we will consider science in Day Three, and it may come as a surprise.

………………………………………………….

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

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

[1] Greene, Brian. The Fabric of the Cosmos, Penguin, London, 2005 (paperback), page 171 (emphasis in bold is Greene’s).

[2] Rees, Martin. Just Six Numbers, Pheonix, London, 1999 (paperback), page 121.

[3] Commentary on Torah, Genesis 1, Nahmanides, quoted in Gerald Schroeder Genesis and the Big Bang, Bantam Books, 1992 (paperback), page 65.

[4] Greene, page 305.

[5] Greene, page 306.

[6] Greene, page 306.

[7] Greene, page 309.

[8] Greene, page 309 – 310.

[9] Greene, page 307 – my emphasis in bold.

[10] Rees, page 119.

[11] Rees, page 3.

[12] Greene, page 312.

[13] Greene, page 311 – bold emphasis is Greene’s.

[14] Greene, pages 311 to 312 – bold emphasis is Greene’s.

[15] Rees, page 139 – emphasis in bold is mine.

[16] Rees, page 119.

[17] Rees, page 119 – emphasis in bold is mine.

[18] Greene, page 308.

[19] Rees, illustration at page 132.