“…small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”. Matthew 7:14 (NIV)

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Welcome to the Plainclothes Parson’s website!  Just so you will know, the primary purpose of this website is not SEO, nor any other sort of marketing.  As this is written, we have no intent to offer anything for sale.  If, at some future time, anything is offered for sale, the price requested will be for the purpose of making the distribution possible – not for profit.

In case you haven’t figured it out from the site name or the caption beneath the picture – the plainclothes parson is an unpretentious, simple preacher.  Simple, as in plain, unadorned, uncomplicated – not as in ignorant – although there is no doubt that some critics will claim the latter.

It is the parson’s contention that there is no conflict between true science and true faith.  Yes, that statement requires some qualification.  A substantial number of folks on both sides of relevant issues – including some who hold multiple PhD’s and some who don’t hold any degrees at all – do not correctly handle (and may not even recognize) truth.

Terra Forming the Earth – Snake in the Garden! (b)

We ended the last post in the midst of a classic story. Eve had just eaten the forbidden fruit, and had shared some with Adam, who also ate it.

Just in case you didn’t notice – scripture DOES NOT say that it was an apple. (For some reason, the secular version of the account seems to insist that it was.) In fact, the specific nature of the fruit is completely irrelevant. The point was that it was forbidden, and Eve was deceived, persuaded that the prohibition was actually detrimental to their welfare – that she should decide for herself what was right and wrong.

We noted that she may have been susceptible to being deceived precisely because Adam had apparently not been careful to accurately quote God’s commandment regarding the forbidden fruit. We speculated that he may have thought to improve on God’s word by inserting an additional condition which was NOT God-given. His attempt to strengthen the command may actually have effectively resulted in weakening it.

Many years later, when Moses codified God’s Word in written form, he wrote (Deuteronomy 4:2) Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Young’s Literal Translation renders that verse: Ye do not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor diminish from it, to keep the commands of Jehovah your God which I am commanding you.

In case you are having difficulty with that wording, a modern translation (The Holman Christian Standard Bible) renders it thus: You must not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, so that you may keep the commands of the LORD your God I am giving you.

Clearly, Moses understood that either adding to or taking from the original, inspired Word would weaken its’ effectiveness. Of course, Adam didn’t have the advantage of Moses’ insight.

Thousands of years later, the Lord gave a prophetic vision to the apostle John, while he was incarcerated on an isolated Prison Island (Patmos). John was told to write down the vision so that the message could be preserved and distributed. Near the end of his book – which is the last book of the Bible (Revelation), John wrote, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev. 22:18-19

Let’s read a bit further in the “garden story” from our two primary scriptural sources, The King James Version and Young’s Literal Translation.

6 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. 7 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. 8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

Gen 3:6-8 (KJV)

6 And the woman seeth that the tree is good for food, and that it is pleasant to the eyes, and the tree is desirable to make one wise, and she taketh of its fruit and eateth, and giveth also to her husband with her, and he doth eat; 7 and the eyes of them both are opened, and they know that they are naked, and they sew fig-leaves, and make to themselves girdles. 8 And they hear the sound of Jehovah God walking up and down in the garden at the breeze of the day, and the man and his wife hide themselves from the face of Jehovah God in the midst of the trees of the garden.

Gen 3:6-8 (YLT)

There was apparently some supernatural intervention, because no known animal seems to be at all embarrassed about having its genitals seen, yet these two were suddenly obsessed with concealing theirs. Since the manufacture of clothing was totally unknown, they improvised with the closest available materials. As leaves go, fig leaves are rather large, so a skirt made of them would offer some semblance of privacy. They’d be quite fragile, though – fig leaf aprons would definitely be high-maintenance garments!

Give a bit of thought to verse 8. It says that “they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God …” Let’s read a bit further.

9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Gen 3:9-13 (KJV)

9 And Jehovah God calleth unto the man, and saith to him, `Where art thou?’ 10 and he saith, `Thy sound I have heard in the garden, and I am afraid, for I am naked, and I hide myself.’

11 And He saith, `Who hath declared to thee that thou art naked? of the tree of which I have commanded thee not to eat, hast thou eaten?’ 12 and the man saith, `The woman whom Thou didst place with me—she hath given to me of the tree—and I do eat.’ 13 And Jehovah God saith to the woman, `What is this thou hast done?’ and the woman saith, `The serpent hath caused me to forget—and I do eat.’
Gen 3:9-13 (YLT)

How do you suppose they recognized the sound of the Lord, God walking in the garden? It is the parson’s contention that God regularly visited them – probably frequently, maybe daily, about sunset. They heard Him coming, they recognized the sound, and for the first time ever, they were afraid.

We have no reason to believe that they had ever experienced fear before. They had no natural enemies. The garden was completely secure. They had everything they needed. They were accustomed to visits from the Lord, and such visits were probably characterized by cordial conversation, encouragement, and teaching. What was different this time? Just one thing – they had never before disobeyed. When they did, they were overcome with a sense of guilt and dread – they didn’t want to face God – so they tried to hide from Him.

Come to think of it, in that respect, they were much like modern humans. It has become common for people who have chosen to disobey God’s commands to try to hide from Him. A related ruse is to claim that He doesn’t exist. In spite of such claims, men and women have a deep inner sense that there is a supreme plan or purpose – which presupposes a planner. Even people who deny that there is an absolute authority still claim that there are absolutes of “right and wrong”. At the same time, like Eve, people want to be the final arbiter of “what’s right for me”. But what happens when “what’s right for me” conflicts with “what’s right for you”?

In fact, every member of humankind actually NEEDS God! Without an all seeing, all knowing, all wise authority, we are incapable of correctly defining right and wrong. Lacking an absolute, authoritative standard, “right” and “wrong” are elusive, meaningless terms – moving targets.

The most basic level of “good and evil” is that the one who defines right and wrong must be respected and obeyed by all whose lives are governed by those standards.

In other words, “the knowledge of good and evil” must ultimately be rooted in some authority, and that authority must be dominant over every person who is governed thereby. Individuals who are governed by the standard are not authorized to invent / edit that standard to match their whims.

There is much more to learn about this, but once again, our article has become too long. We’ll have to resume this topic another day. Until then…

Be Blessed!

The Parson

Terra Forming the Earth – Snake in the Garden!

We continue our examination of the scriptural account of the Terra Forming of Planet Earth.  If you have followed this series, you realize that it is our contention that there is no conflict between correct understanding of scriptures and the findings of true science.  We are seeking answers to how the scriptures and true science may be blended into a consistent and accurate view of the history of the Earth.

In our examination of scripture, we ended last article with “the man” and “the woman” in the garden – naked, but without shame.  In this article, we pick up the scriptures at the beginning of Genesis 3.  We will print a few verses from our two primary scriptural sources, The King James Version and Young’s Literal Translation.

     1 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? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 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. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 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.

     6 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.
Gen 3:1-6 (KJV)

    1 And the serpent hath been subtile above every beast of the field which Jehovah God hath made, and he saith unto the woman, `Is it true that God hath said, Ye do not eat of every tree of the garden?’ 2 And the woman saith unto the serpent, `Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we do eat, 3 and of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden God hath said, Ye do not eat of it, nor touch it, lest ye die.’ 4 And the serpent saith unto the woman, `Dying, ye do not die, 5 for God doth know that in the day of your eating of it—your eyes have been opened, and ye have been as God, knowing good and evil.’

     6 And the woman seeth that the tree is good for food, and that it is pleasant to the eyes, and the tree is desirable to make one wise, and she taketh of its fruit and eateth, and giveth also to her husband with her, and he doth eat;
Gen 3:1-6 (YLT)

Chapter 2 begins with what clearly sounds like a “fairy tale” – the story of an animal – a reptile, at that – holding a conversation with “the woman”.  How could any intelligent human accept such a story?  Snakes don’t have suitable bodily structures to speak, nor are they neurologically sophisticated enough to think in coherent sentences.  Even if they could think such thoughts, how could they possibly articulate them?

We will come back to these difficulties a bit later, but let’s consider the rest of the conversation. “the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 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.”

Did God really tell her that?

In Genesis 2:15-17 (KJV), the scripture says, 15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

     16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Reading that scripture carefully, it DOES NOT state that God put “the man and the woman” in the garden – it says that He put “the man” there.  God DID tell “the man” not to eat from that one tree, and He did pronounce a death penalty for eating that particular fruit – but there is not a word here about touching it!  If the account in chapter 2 is in chronological order, then “the woman” was brought to him later – so it is reasonable to assume that Adam relayed God’s instructions to Eve.  If this assumption is true, it appears that Adam saw fit to amplify or add to the Divine Ordinance.

Several thousand years after Genesis was written, God inspired His prophet, John to write the New Testament Book of Revelation.  Near the end of his prophecy, John wrote the following words:  18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.  Revelation 22:18-19 (KJV)

Of course, Adam had never heard John’s warning.  Quite possibly, he imagined that by adding emphasis he would make the warning more convincing.  In fact, adding to the Word of God may have had exactly the opposite effect.  Suppose that the serpent (snake?) was lying on a limb of the tree, maybe even caressing the fruit when Eve’s encounter took place.  If she thought the prohibition was against even touching the fruit – and the serpent was in contact with it…..

But let’s talk about that conversation – we have already touched on the lack of appropriate vocal structures in snakes.  In fact, there are documented cases of a few animals mastering language to the point of being able to understand and appropriately respond to a broad range of language.  A few (African Gray Parrots, in particular) are actually able to articulate words and simple sentences, and in some cases, seem to understand what they are saying – but there are no documented examples of anything resembling the complexity of the conversation between Eve and the serpent, nor of any animal planning such a conversation in order to accomplish a goal.

Having acknowledged the seeming implausibility of such a conversation, I still believe that it took place!  Was the source of the problem actually a snake?  No, he was only the “front man”!  OK, the full explanation would require several scriptures and “a bunch” of text, so allow me to briefly  offer a condensed version of the story:

Angels are created beings, but they are not people.  Angels have abilities which are far beyond those of any human, but they aren’t “gods” either – although they have powers which might enable them to pose as such.  Originally, their leader was an exceptionally beautiful and powerful being named “Lucifer”.  Lucifer became enamored with himself and decided to rebel against Jehovah.  He incited rebellion among the angels, and about 1/3 of them sided with him.

Isaiah 14:12-13(a) offers a glimpse of the beginning of the rebellion:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!7  13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:

We pick up our explanation with another scriptural excerpt:  Revelation 12:7-9 (NET Bible ®)  
   7 Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But the dragon was not strong enough to prevail, so there was no longer any place left in heaven for him and his angels. 9 So that huge dragon – the ancient serpent, the one called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world – was thrown down to the earth, and his angels along with him.

Angels apparently have the ability to assume the form of living creatures, including humans.  Most frequently, those loyal to the Lord have assumed the appearance of men (no female angels are recorded in scripture).  That serpent (snake?) was actually the devil in disguise.  He had already convinced 1/3 of God’s angels to rebel, and now he was bent on the destruction of the only creatures which were actually created “in the image of God” – and whose responsibility it was to “replenish and subdue” the earth.  (Genesis 1:28)

Other places in scripture, we are told that Eve was “deceived” by the serpent.  Since it appears that she had been given faulty instruction by her husband, that was apparently not terribly difficult – and you could say it wasn’t really her fault.  Well, yes – she did intentionally decide to disobey, but only after she had been deceived.  That faulty phrase, “neither shall you touch it” was probably key to her failure.

Adam, on the other hand, wasn’t deceived.  He saw that Eve had eaten the fruit, and when she offered him a bite (and probably told him that it was delicious), he willingly ate it.  Adam wasn’t deceived, he was persuaded.  In other words, he intentionally disobeyed God’s command.  Maybe we could make the excuse that he really loved Eve, and was willing to share her fate…

We are right in the midst of this story, but our article has become too long.  We’ll have to finish this topic another day.  Until then…

Be Blessed!

The Parson

Terra Forming the Earth – the Garden of Eden (d)

We ended the previous article with the first recorded cloning of a human being.  I (the parson) shared my  speculation that neither “the man” nor “the woman” were adults when God finished creating them — that He placed them in a safe environment, with abundant natural food supplies, and that much or all of the account found in Genesis 2 occurred when they were pre-adolescents / adolescents.

Yes, this is purely speculative, but I challenge you to prove from scripture that it is wrong!  In fact, if the scriptures are true, is this concept not more compatible with scientific findings and simple reality?  Why should we insist that they were created as mature adults?  In a safe environment, with plenty of wholesome food, is there any reason that pre-adolescent children couldn’t have matured through adolescence and into healthy adults — without the help of adult parents?  (Remember:  The scriptures state that they were placed in a specially created “garden”.

Before we carry this discussion further, let’s examine a few verses of Genesis 2 from our reference texts (King James Version and Young’s Literal Translation.  Actually, we have already glimpsed these verses, but we didn’t finish the discussion.  To facilitate that process, we will reprint a pertinent phrase from a previous post and the verses which will be referenced in this article.

 “It is clear that the process described in Genesis 2:21-22 is an example of cloning.”

    21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Gen 2:21-25 (KJV)

21 And Jehovah God causeth a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he sleepeth, and He taketh one of his ribs, and closeth up flesh in its stead. 22 And Jehovah God buildeth up the rib which He hath taken out of the man into a woman, and bringeth her in unto the man; 23 and the man saith, `This is the proper step! bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh!’ for this it is called Woman, for from a man hath this been taken; 24 therefore doth a man leave his father and his mother, and hath cleaved unto his wife, and they have become one flesh. 25 And they are both of them naked, the man and his wife, and they are not ashamed of themselves.
Gen 2:21-25 (YLT) 

As noted in the previous article, this is clearly a description of advanced cloning of a human being, described by a person who lacked our modern scientific perspective.  As we have previously noted, the fact that the clone was not of the same gender as the donor only proves the sophistication of the process.

The last few words of verse 22 tell us that the Lord God “brought her unto the man.”  How do you picture this event?  Do you imagine that she was just “dumped” into the garden in a location where he would find her?  If that were the case, how would he have known that she was made from his rib?  The text clearly reveals that Adam knew the source of Eve – he understood that she had been created from his rib.  That is why he is quoted as stating, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:”

We previously raised the question:  “How could a young boy grow up – and name the animals – if he had no interaction with any other speaking being?”  We extended that concept by adding the question, “Why should anyone assume that Adam had no interaction with any other speaking being?”  Scripture tells us that Adam was given specific instructions. Does scripture give any clues which may help to understand details which are omitted from the scriptures?

We have observed that the Lord “brought her unto the man.”   Later, (In chapter 3), we will see that the couple “heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden.”  Gen 3:8 (KJV), or as rendered in Young’s Literal Translation, “they hear the sound of Jehovah God walking up and down in the garden…”   Gen 3:8 (YLT)

Taken together, these scriptures seem to reveal that there was direct interaction between the Creator and His creations.  Remember, we mentioned in a previous post, it is really unreasonable to assume that any engineer who has the knowledge and the resources to Terraform an entire planet would do so, then just abandon it.  Clearly, these scriptures indicate that He regularly checked on the progress of the fledgling project.  The designated caretakers (the man and the woman, or “Adam and Eve”) were apparently familiar enough with him to recognize his approach by sound alone.

If you recall our comparison of the original Creation to a major construction project, we touched on the fact that there are many millions of “angels”, non-human created beings who were present at the time of the Terra Forming, and who were likely involved in the tasks associated with the project. (Incidentally: It would be accurate to describe the angels as “extra-terrestrials”, since their creation predated the events described in Genesis 1!)   Admittedly, this is partially speculative — but if correct, it would be unreasonable to assume that “construction crew” members didn’t stay around until the project was complete, stable, and able to flourish.

Just to clarify that last point:  The scriptures clearly state that the original process of creation took only six days.  This author, although recognizing the magnitude of the project, accepts the inspired scripture as absolute truth.  At the same time, the creation is a living entity.  Each new event impacts the creation.  In many places, scriptures indicate that both the Creator and his angelic servants remain involved in events on Earth, and will continue to be so involved.  By extension, it is reasonable to presume that “the woman” was literally “brought to” the man, as the scripture states – complete with an explanation of her origins.

From the context of the first three chapters of Genesis, it is clear that communication occurred between Creator and created.  It is reasonable to assume that it was speech, since there is clear reference to speech occurring between them in chapter 3 (yes, this may seem premature – we’ll get to that scripture soon).  By extension we speculate that God, angels, and man / woman communicated verbally during that idyllic era.  It may be that a degree of communication occurred between people and animals, as well, although it couldn’t have been speech in the sense that we know it today.  Unfortunately, the era didn’t last for long!

At this point, we should reiterate one of the primary purposes of this series:
“There are some very credible scientists who do not accept the Christian view of God,  yet who believe that some outside forces must have been involved in the development of the planet, or at least of its’ flora and fauna. It will be our goal in this series to reduce some of the misunderstanding and hostility which exists on both sides (religion vs. science), and while we are at it, between people of various religious backgrounds.”

The author readily acknowledges that a substantial portion of the last couple of articles has been highly speculative.  It is neither “scientific” nor traditionally “religious”.  It IS, however, completely compatible with scripture, and with proven science.  In order to “defend” these concepts please consider the following, in the light of known science and scripture.

Assuming relatively standard growth rates, How long do you suppose the process of cloning Adam to create Eve would have taken?  Many biblical literalists assume that it took seconds, minutes, or at most a matter of hours – but that assumption is not based on written scripture.  The process could very well have entailed several years!  If, as suggested in a previous post, Adam “grew up” in the Garden of Eden, Eve may have been brought to him as a child. We aren’t told when the process began, either.  That rib may have been removed from a pre-adolescent or adolescent – possibly, even a toddler – in anticipation of future events.

There is no scriptural reason to assume that they immediately mated.  In fact, it is not until chapter 4 that Genesis mentions consummation of the marriage.  This seems to support the contention that they were children “in the garden”.

Whether you agree or disagree with this highly speculative concept, it really doesn’t have much impact on the scriptural account.  We should get back to our examination of the inspired text.

Genesis 2 ends with the statement:  “they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”  Have you noticed that humans are the only creatures that feel a need to hide their genitals?  The degree of emphasis varies widely from one culture to another, but some form of clothing seems to be nearly universal.  On the opposite extreme, some individuals apparently feel compelled to “buck against the standards”, in which case they are likely to emphasize / display those same “private parts”.

These topics will be addressed in much more detail in Genesis 3.

Until then…..

Be blessed!

The Parson

Terra Forming the Earth – the Garden of Eden (c)

We’ll pick up our discussion where we ended the previous article:

I (the parson) personally speculate that the first “man” was actually a young boy, and that much of what is discussed in Genesis 2 occurred while he was growing up.  Since “the Garden was free of predators, and was abundantly planted with food producing plants, he was completely safe and well nourished.

Like modern children, Adam was probably quite satisfied to have animal “friends” during early childhood, but he surely soon observed that an important component of his life was missing.  Specifically, all of the higher animals had mates, but Adam was unique, having found no “matching” creature. That is where we stand at the end of Genesis 2:20!

We also raised the question:  “How could a young boy grow up – and name the animals – if he had no interaction with any other speaking being?”  We should not assume that the information given in the Bible is exhaustive and all inclusive.  We have previously noted that more information is omitted than is given.  Why should anyone assume that Adam had no interaction with any other speaking being?  He was given specific instructions.  Who gave those instructions?   Were they spoken, written, or possibly telepathic?  Does scripture give any clues which may help to answer those questions?

Yes!  There are clues!  We will probably get to them in the next article.  Before we discuss that topic, though, let’s look at a few more verses of scripture, from each of our two primary resource texts:

  18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. ….. 20…. but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
      21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Gen 2:18, 20(b), 21-25 (KJV)

     18 And Jehovah God saith, `Not good for the man to be alone, I do make to him an helper—as his counterpart.’ ….. 20 …..and to man hath not been found an helper—as his counterpart.

21 And Jehovah God causeth a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he sleepeth, and He taketh one of his ribs, and closeth up flesh in its stead. 22 And Jehovah God buildeth up the rib which He hath taken out of the man into a woman, and bringeth her in unto the man; 23 and the man saith, `This is the proper step! bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh!’ for this it is called Woman, for from a man hath this been taken; 24 therefore doth a man leave his father and his mother, and hath cleaved unto his wife, and they have become one flesh. 25 And they are both of them naked, the man and his wife, and they are not ashamed of themselves.
Gen 2:18, 20(b), 21-25 (YLT)

This scripture offers a bit more information about the creation of the human race.  It may be that a similar process was utilized in creating the various “kinds” of animals, but that information is not offered in scripture.  With regard to humans, we are given tantalizing clues.

Long before science had grasped the concept of cloning, scripture offered a glimpse of an early cloning project.  It’s interesting that we are told of the anesthetic effect — if not of the source — which enabled extraction of a sufficient portion of material from Adam’s body.  The specific material is defined as “a rib”.  Now that we have begun to understand and to utilize “adult stem cells”, we can see that a living rib — with marrow, and probably with attached fragments of muscle, tendon, and cartilage — would have been an ideal resource from which to begin the process of cloning a man.

No doubt, some readers are thinking that cloning Adam would (at best) have resulted in the production of Adam Jr., rather than of a female.  Let’s not be arrogant, though.  We should not imagine that we know more than God does about cloning. It is safe to say that the all knowing Creator knows how to modify a clone at His discretion!

Even we mere mortals are learning surprising things about cloning, and about factors which influence gender.  It is known that a number of different species are capable of changing gender, even as adults.  We understand factors other than genetics which clearly direct the gender of some animals.  For example, the gender of crocodiles and alligators is determined by the temperature of the eggs during incubation.  It is clear that the process described in Genesis 2:21-22 is an example of cloning.

How long do you suppose the process of cloning Adam to create Eve took?  A simplistic reading of the scripture may leave you with the impression that it was (at most) a matter of hours, but that assumption is not based on anything written in scripture.  The process could very well have entailed several years!  If, as suggested in our previous post, Adam “grew up” in the Garden of Eden, it might reasonably follow that when Eve was brought to him, she was a small child, and that Adam literally raised her from childhood before she became his wife.  For that matter, we aren’t told when the process was begun.  That rib may have been removed from a pre-adolescent or an adolescent, in anticipation of future events.

Don’t be “dirty minded” about this, either.  There is no reason to assume that they immediately mated.  In fact, the written account seems to indicate otherwise — another reason to think that Eve may not have been mature when she was brought to Adam.  They may have actually grown up together, with Adam being just a few years older than Eve.

Oh, yes!  We should add a brief disclaimer.  Most of what is stated in this post amounts to speculation.  The truth is that whether you agree or disagree, your position is also based largely on speculation.  The scriptures are very sketchy about these details.  We are told only a few crucial facts, and the balance of information is apparently viewed by God as unimportant, irrelevant, or even “information overload”.

Let’s not get too carried away with debating these speculative matters.  Nobody on either side will be able to absolutely prove their point beyond all doubt.  The reason that God didn’t tell us more is that information overload would have caused us to miss the details which are most important — specifically, that God had a plan, He executed His plan, mankind (the caretaker) “fumbled”, and God’s perfect creation has been spiraling downward ever since.  As we follow the scriptures through the next several chapters, we will see that the spiral is accelerating.

Even though it is popular to claim that the “scientific” view points to slow and steady improvements over millions of years, that assertion is in direct conflict with the well established laws of science, particularly the  “Second Law of Thermodynamics”.  Since this well known law includes the knowledge that entropy (entropy = disorder) will always increase, or at best will remain the same, the only evolution which is compatible with the basic laws of physics is (at best) horizontal, and more commonly, downward evolution.  Downward evolution is exactly what we will be seeing in the next few articles!

Have we raised enough controversy for one post?  Probably so!  We’ll pick up the conversation here, next time.  Until then…..

Be blessed!

The Parson

Terra Forming the Earth – the Garden of Eden (b)

We ended the last article with Genesis 2:15.  We’ll pick up the discussion where we ended that article:

15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Gen 2:15 (KJV)

15 And Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, to serve it, and to keep it.
Gen 2:15 (YLT)

Although scripture is completely silent about the process of communication between the Creator and the man, it seems clear that communication took place.  Just as DNA evidence seems to verify the origin of humanity with one female, so it is logical to assume that each “Kind” of animals had a “first mother”.  It’s not a huge stretch to say that a wise and thoughtful creator would have placed all of these creatures in a safe environment with an abundant food supply.

Keep in mind that the original instruction was quite specific with regard to food sources:  30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Gen 1:30 (KJV)

This plan didn’t last very long, but it was the original plan.  Indeed, if breeding pairs of all creatures which reproduce through heterosexual mating had been interrupted by carnivorous predation, many of the kinds of animals might have disappeared before they had opportunity to “fill the earth”.  (Does this sound impossible to you?  Do you need a reminder?  see Terra Forming the Earth – Day Six(e))

Yes, I understand that this concept will be (is) ridiculed by the majority of readers — even those who claim to believe the Bible — but please bear with me for a few more articles. You will see that the arrangement, while reasonable, was not permanent.

Genesis 2:15 (YLT) reveals a detail which is less obvious in the KJV and most other translations.  Before it states that “the man” was given a work assignment, it says that God caused him “to rest” in the garden.  What is pictured here is a peaceful, tranquil environment.  Although it was no drudgery, there were tasks to be performed.  Imagine a wealthy, retired couple lovingly caring for the meticulously manicured grounds of their country estate.  That is a reasonable facsimile of “The Garden of Eden”.  There was work to be done, but doing it was a pleasure.

Very little information is given regarding that assignment, but let’s read a few more verses and see what we can glean from them:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
    18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Gen 2:16-20 (KJV)

16 And Jehovah God layeth a charge on the man, saying, `Of every tree of the garden eating thou dost eat; 17 and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it—dying thou dost die.’
    18 And Jehovah God saith, `Not good for the man to be alone, I do make to him an helper—as his counterpart.’ 19 And Jehovah God formeth from the ground every beast of the field, and every fowl of the heavens, and bringeth in unto the man, to see what he doth call it; and whatever the man calleth a living creature, that is its name. 20 And the man calleth names to all the cattle, and to fowl of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; and to man hath not been found an helper—as his counterpart.
Gen 2:16-20 (YLT)

It appears that the man — henceforth, we’ll call him by his name, “Adam” — was given almost total authority over the entirety of creation.  Just to keep him on course, he was given a single reminder that he was not the ultimate authority.  That reminder was such a simple thing — “Just don’t eat fruit from this one tree!”

We might imagine a bit more to the conversation:  “Why NOT?”
“Never mind, just don’t eat it!”

That’s not all, either.  There was a seemingly harsh penalty for violating that one, simple law.  In the KJV, it is stated, “… for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Whoa!  That sort of arbitrary instruction goes against our nature, doesn’t it?   Furthermore, if you are familiar with the scriptures, you surely realize that they ate the fruit, and the human race is alive today, so…was the penalty just an empty threat?
We’ll come back for a deeper look, at the appropriate time.  For now, we have more details to discover!

Thinking back, we saw that “fowls” were created on day 5, “beasts of the field” on day 6.  Genesis 2:19 states that God created all of those things and brought them to Adam, and he named them.  Does this disagree with the account found in chapter 1?  NO!  We have already pointed out the literary style of the document.   This information is simply supplemental to the brief account of chapter 1.  We have noted that there were several thousand different “kinds” of animals initially created.  How do you suppose the naming process occurred?  Did the animals form a double line and march past Adam in pairs, eager to learn their names?  HIGHLY UNLIKELY!

Is Something Missing Here?

We should note that there is a whole lot more information OMITTED than is GIVEN in this passage.  Since Adam had been given the task of “dressing and keeping” his garden home, he would have been constantly moving about the area.  In the course of that process, he would have encountered each kind of animal, in turn.  I (the Parson) picture him discovering a previously unknown animal (or a pair, or a family of them), observing them, maybe interacting with them, and choosing a name which was appropriate to their appearance, behavior, etc.

Logically, this process would have taken many weeks, or months – probably years.  It is not reasonable to assume that Adam would have had time to view and name all of those creatures in a single day — not even if he got started before dawn!

Sometime in this process, it must have dawned on Adam — the “higher animals” all had mates, but he had never seen another human!  Surely, a mate must have been created for him, as well.  Where could she be?

OK, let’s face this difficulty head on:  We saw in Genesis 1:27,    “27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Gen 1:27 (KJV)

No doubt, some folks who are looking for conflicts in scripture will state that this is an example of just that.  Is there any way to reconcile Gen. 1:27 with Gen. 2:20?

Here is “the Parson’s” take on this subject.  As previously stated, chapter 1 was a brief overview, with details “fleshed out” in following text.  Like all of the other “kinds” of animals, the design of the human race was complete, and the genetic makeup of the first man was fully developed.   The design included all aspects of our heterosexual reproductive system – yes, the design included “male and female”, all necessary ingredients were there – but initially, only a single specimen was “built”.

I (the parson) personally believe that the first “man” was actually a young boy, and that much of what has been discussed in this article occurred while he was growing up.  Like modern children, Adam was probably quite satisfied to have animal “friends” during childhood, but as he reached puberty, he became acutely aware that an important component of his life was missing.  That is where we stand at the end of Genesis 2:20!

How could a young boy grow up — and name the animals — if he had no interaction with any other speaking being?  Remember, we have noted that more information is omitted than is given.  Who says that he had no interaction with any other speaking being?  He was given instructions.  Were they spoken, written, or possibly telepathic?  Who gave the instructions?  Does scripture give any clues to answer those questions?

Yes!  There are clues.  We’ll discuss them in upcoming articles.

Is that enough controversy for one post?  Probably so!  We’ll pick up the conversation here, next time.  Until then…..

Be blessed!

The Parson

Terra Forming the Earth – the Garden of Eden (a)

Our examination of the scriptural account of the original Terra forming of planet earth continues.  In this article, we will continue to examine Genesis 2.

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“If you’re a newcomer to this series, you’ve probably landed on the wrong page!  Some very controversial concepts have been covered in previous documents.  In order to fully understand this series, you should read the articles in sequence.  Therefore – Please read our previous posts before continuing with this article.”

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You might accurately describe Chapter One of Genesis as the introduction.   At a glance, chapter two may seem to be the account of a separate event, but that interpretation misses the literary style of the account.  It is rather, a fuller explanation of what was briefly stated in Chapter 1.

Please keep in mind the literary technique used by the early authors. It was their standard practice to first briefly state the main points of an account, then go back and develop them with more details. Genesis 1 (through 2:3) offers a condensed version of the account of an intense construction project. (for a reminder of the construction project analogy, see. Terra-Forming Earth, Day 3 (part A) )  With Genesis 2:4, we begin to gather more details concerning the subject.

In our last post, we noted that God’s creation of humans was a special event, unlike the creation of the various animals.  “Man” is the only creature of whom it is stated that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”.  We have suggested that this “life” is more than mere biological functions.  The “life” mentioned here is likely the specific component of humanity which is referred to earlier in the statement of Gen. 1:26 (KJV), “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:”.

As previously noted, the nature of God includes the attribute of His being omnipresent. That term literally means that He is simultaneously everywhere.  The concept of “His image” can’t refer to a physical body, because a body can only be in one place at a time.  God has attributes which are beyond our present ability to perceive, or even to conceive. The human creature is more than just a highly intelligent animal.  It is (we are) endowed with something more – if we can recognize it, it is “the image of God”.  It is also the true “life” of men and women.

Keep this concept in mind, because in the next few articles, it will have great significance.  Let’s resume our study of scripture with Genesis 2.

8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. 15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Gen 2:8-15 (KJV)

8 And Jehovah God planteth a garden in Eden, at the east, and He setteth there the man whom He hath formed; 9 and Jehovah God causeth to sprout from the ground every tree desirable for appearance, and good for food, and the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river is going out from Eden to water the garden, and from thence it is parted, and hath become four chief rivers; 11 the name of the one is Pison, it is that which is surrounding the whole land of the Havilah where the gold is, 12 and the gold of that land is good, there is the bdolach and the shoham stone; 13 and the name of the second river is Gibon, it is that which is surrounding the whole land of Cush; 14 and the name of the third river is Hiddekel, it is that which is going east of Asshur; and the fourth river is Phrat. 15 And Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, to serve it, and to keep it.
Gen 2:8-15 (YLT)

Scientists are currently involved in early stage discussions of proposed changes to other planets (primarily Mars, Venus) to make them more hospitable to Earth’s life forms.  This theoretical process is commonly referred to by some variant of the term “terraforming”.   In the event that such a process is eventually attempted, surely no reasonable engineer or group of engineers would propose that it be attempted without having in place some sort of management system to guide the process.  Why would anyone imagine that God would be less discrete than we?

As we noted in a previous post, Terra Forming the Earth – Day Six(e),     “In a nutshell, the human race was put here to manage the planet on behalf of the designer / creator.”

When humans were first created, they were placed in a specially constructed environment – a “natural incubator”, if you will – and they were given specific instructions concerning the care and maintenance of their home.

The Garden of Eden, according to scripture, was the original “Cradle of Civilization”.  It is popular to ridicule the scriptural account of the creation of mankind, yet even those scientists who are absolute atheists generally seem to agree that the entire human race is descended from one woman.  (This belief is based primarily upon analysis of mitochondrial DNA.)  Although dominant theories currently favor the human race originating somewhere in Africa, take a close look at a map.  In terms of the whole earth, Africa is not so far from the probable location which most “believers” attribute to “the Garden”.

OK, so where was the biblical Garden of Eden?  At a preliminary glance, no place on Earth exactly fits the biblical description – but since we know that many changes have occurred, that shouldn’t be too surprising.  Possible answers may lie in research found at this site:  http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/biblical-garden-of-eden.html (two alternate theories are presented), or here:  http://ldolphin.org/eden/.  If you don’t like either of those, there are several others – just Google it!

Don’t get too carried away, though.  Because the topography of the Earth has changed so dramatically, it may not be possible to positively identify ancient sites with certainty.  That’s just as well, as it prevents us from making shrines of them. (People tend to actually idolize such objects / locations.)

We’ll continue to explore these concepts in future articles.  As usual, we have opened a lot of topics which call for deeper investigation, but this document is becoming too long.

Until next time…

Be Blessed!

The Parson

Terra Forming the Earth – More Details (a)

Before we resume our scriptural research, a bit of housekeeping is necessary.  As an experiment, for several weeks, we have accepted most comments, except for those with obscene, political, or otherwise objectionable content, or those from clearly objectionable sources.

It is clear that many of the comments have been made for reasons unrelated to this site.  Beginning on this date, comments which are irrelevant, and those which are not from believable sources will be arbitrarily deleted.  Those which are represented as being from names which actually constitute “stealth URL’s” – if they seem to contain legitimate comments – will be edited to remove the “stealth”.  Please don’t waste your time or mine by posting self serving, irrelevant comments.

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Our examination of the scriptural account of the original Terra forming of planet earth continues.  In this article, we will begin to examine Genesis 2.

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“If you’re a newcomer to this series, you’ve probably landed on the wrong page!  Some very controversial concepts have been covered in previous documents.  In order to fully understand this series, you should read the articles in sequence.  Therefore – Please read our previous posts before continuing with this article.”

We have stated specifically that there is no conflict between accurate understanding of what the Bible actually says and what science has actually observed – that discrepancies result from either misunderstanding / distortion of scripture, or misinterpretation / distortion of observations of physical evidence.

In order to support these assertions, we have begun a careful examination of what scriptures actually state, and of what evidence actually shows.  Please notice:  as previously stated, assertions / assumptions about what it scriptures say and / or about what science “knows” don’t count.  Only literal translations and literal facts are meaningful.

We have previously observed that the Genesis account purports to tell of the creation of the earth and everything on it, all in just six days.  It specifically states (repeatedly), “and the evening and the morning were the (insert number) day.”  We’ve already noted that most modern folks find this claim unbelievable – yet that’s what the Bible says.

Genesis 2 “wraps up” the initial account of creation.  We’ll view it first in our two “standard” reference texts,   the King James Version and Young’s Literal Translation.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Gen 2:1-3 (KJV)

1 And the heavens and the earth are completed, and all their host; 2 and God completeth by the seventh day His work which He hath made, and ceaseth by the seventh day from all His work which He hath made. 3 And God blesseth the seventh day, and sanctifieth it, for in it He hath ceased from all His work which God had prepared for making.
Gen 2:1-3 (YLT)

Just in case you find the language of those texts to be a bit archaic and therefore potentially confusing, we’ll supplement them with a modern translation, the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

1 So the heavens and the earth and everything in them  were completed. 2 By the seventh  day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested  on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.
Gen 2:1-3 (HCSB)

That scripture is pretty much self-explanatory, with one additional comment.  As we noted in a previous post, scripture does not state that every species was created in those seven days.  It does state that every KIND of plant and animal was created, and that each reproduced “after its’ kind”.  We noted in Terra Forming the Earth – Day Six(a) (the first “Day Six” article) that the six day process did not instantly produce all of the millions of separate species which are known today.  (For example, on day six, God created neither poodles not dachshunds).  The following paragraph is borrowed from that posting.

“The creatures which were created on days 5 & 6 were not Millions or Billions of different species, but rather, several thousand “kinds” of creatures, each set of which carried all of the genetic information that would be needed by their descendants to multiply and fill the earth.  Tiny changes did occur as they scattered into varied environments, but every example of natural evolution which has ever been documented has been – and always will be – micro-evolution.”

If that paragraph didn’t adequately stir your memory, we recommend that you go back and re-read that entire article.

At this stage, we should point out that chapter and verse divisions are not considered a part of the original inspired document.  In fact, these divisions were introduced only a few hundred years ago.  While the placement of chapter and verse breaks are not “inspired”, they do serve as useful reference tools.  Ideally, chapter 1 should extend through Genesis 2:3.

As we return to our scriptural text, we should take note of the literary technique used by the early authors.  Genesis 1 (through 2:3) offers a condensed version of the account. You might accurately describe it as the introduction.   At a glance, Chapter two may seem to be the account of a separate event, but that is not a correct understanding.  It is rather, a fuller explanation of what was briefly stated in Chapter 1 .

4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 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 not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Gen 2:4-7 (KJV)

4 These are births of the heavens and of the earth in their being prepared, in the day of Jehovah God’s making earth and heavens; 5 and no shrub of the field is yet in the earth, and no herb of the field yet sprouteth, for Jehovah God hath not rained upon the earth, and a man there is not to serve the ground, 6 and a mist goeth up from the earth, and hath watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And Jehovah God formeth the man—dust from the ground, and breatheth into his nostrils breath of life, and the man becometh a living creature.
Gen 2:4-7 (YLT)

Say – this looks like a good place to consult the HCSB again, doesn’t it?

4 These are the records of the heavens and the earth, concerning their creation at the time  that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. 5 No shrub of the field had yet grown on the land,  and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not made it rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground. 6 But water would come out of the ground and water the entire surface of the land. 7 Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

Gen 2:4-7 (HCSB)

Now, before we get carried away and leave it behind, look at that statement about the water cycle.  There is good reason to believe that the early earth was very different from the one which we know.  Literally all over the earth – including the continent of Antarctica – there is evidence of lush, tropical growth.  What does all of that have to do with rain?  Today, earth has a few examples of “cloud forest”, such as that found in Costa Rica.  In such an environment, rain is unnecessary, due to constant dripping from condensation.

Without going into a lot of technical detail, science generally agrees that there is a practical limit to the size of insects, and that it relates to their relatively inefficient respiratory and circulatory systems.  In theory, if the oxygen level in the atmosphere were higher, the practical limit on insect size would be correspondingly greater.

Please allow us to pursue this concept a bit further:  If the earth was heavily planted first, with (initially) only few breeding pairs of animals, it seems reasonable that the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere would have been much higher than it is today.  Is there any evidence to support such an assertion?  Yes!  Fossilized dragonflies have been found with wingspan of as much as 35 inches – unheard of in the twenty-first century!  The closest living descendant that survives today is found in Costa – Rica, (wingspan 7-1/2 inches).  If you want to follow this further, check this URL:  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/11/huge-dragonflies-oxygen/  or maybe this one:  http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Fossil_Galleries/Liaoning/Sinaeshcnidia/Sinaeshcnidia.htm

Just a thought – adult dragonflies catch and eat mosquitoes and gnats in flight.  What do you suppose the diet of 30” or larger dragonflies was?  Could mosquitoes and gnats have been proportionately larger?  If so, a walk through a swampy area might have been truly terrifying – or lethal!  It’s a good thing that God’s original dietary plan – not just for people, but for animals, as well – was strictly vegetarian!  (If you forgot that detail, review the “day 6 e” article.)

Keep this rain cycle note in mind, because we will will be returning for another look at this topic somewhat later!

Getting back to our scripture, “man” is the only creature of which the Bible depicts God being so “personally” involved in creation.  Here, (Genesis 2:7) we are told that the Lord God created the man and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”.  For now, we will introduce – but not develop – a concept, which will be examined in greater detail in a later article.  Do you remember the statement, attributed to God, “Let us make man in our image”?  We followed that up with a discussion of just what God’s image may be.

Atheists and agnostics claim that “men made their gods in their own image”, and in truth, the images of “gods” produced by most polytheistic religions represent men, women, animals, and monstrous creatures.  We saw, though, that the nature of the God of the Bible includes the attribute of being “omnipresent” (meaning that He’s everywhere – at the same time).  If God is omnipresent, He must not occupy a body like ours.

The meaning of God’s breathing into man’s nostrils “the breath of life” must relate to that special image of God which is unique to the human race.  Science has largely neglected to study – and indeed, it would be very difficult to devise a valid way to study – out of body experiences.  Still, such reports are common enough that every human society, past and present, has anecdotal accounts of such events.  In many cases, these reports include specific details which can’t be explained by conventional science.  On the other hand, if humans have a living “soul” which is not fully dependent upon the body, then we can begin to understand – to explain the unexplainable!

This is one of those topics which is largely ridiculed by those who dominate “science” today.  I placed that word within quotation marks for good reason.  Much of what masquerades as science actually focuses on preferred evidence, while ignoring and / or hiding facts which are not compatible with preferred “scientific” beliefs.

Scriptures address that topic, as well.  Consider the warning given by the great Apostle Paul to a young Greek preacher, Timothy:  20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:9  21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.  (1 Timothy 6:20, 21a)

Please notice:  That scripture DOES NOT warn against true science, but only against “science falsely so called”.  It was a problem some 2,000 years ago when that scripture was written.  Unfortunately, it remains a problem today!  TRUE SCIENCE NEITHER HIDES, RIDICULES NOR IGNORES RELEVANT DATA!  It is actually OK to say, “We don’t yet know the answer” – rather than pretending to know all.

The existence of the human soul is in fact the only possibility which makes any sense of the pervasive belief, found in every human culture, of life after physical death.  Is this only a wild fantasy, or does it have a foundation in reality?  That’s another topic which we need to investigate – someday.

As usual, we have opened a lot of topics which call for deeper investigation, but this document is becoming too long.

Until next time…

Be Blessed!

The Parson

Terra Forming the Earth – Day Six(e)

Image

Our examination of the scriptural account of the original Terra forming of planet earth continues.  In this article, we will wrap up our study of Genesis 1.

 

“If you’re a newcomer to this series, you’ve probably landed on the wrong page!  In order to fully understand this document, you should read the articles in sequence.  Therefore – Please read our previous posts before continuing with this article.”

 

In the last several articles, we focused on understanding the nature of God – which is integral to understanding the meaning of the statement in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image”.  We have concluded that since God is omnipresent (he’s everywhere, at the same time) the “image” referred to must not refer to our physical bodies.  It means that we are created with His nature – that we resemble him, mentally and spiritually.

 

We have seen that scriptures (1 Cor 2:9-10, ref. Isaiah 64) tell us that the things of God are completely beyond anything we have imagined.  It follows that we are created in an image which we can’t fully comprehend – unless we have help!  We won’t rehash that topic further, but we have noted, the important point here is the reason for the unique creation of mankind.

 

Our topic, from day one, has been the Terra forming of planet Earth.  Imagine for a moment:  If you were in the position to command the Terra forming of a planet, would you want to just “scatter seeds”, then abandon the project and allow it to go wild?  Surely not! – and neither did the architect of Planet Earth!

 

In the last article, we saw that the first humans were actually given a commission.  Genesis 1:28 (KJV) tells us, “God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it”.

 

In a nutshell, the human race was put here to manage the planet on behalf of the designer / creator.  Verses 28 – 30 specifically represent the command given to them.  Since we have already discussed v.28, we’ll confine ourselves to vs. 29-30.

 

Provision for food

 

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.        Genesis 1:29-30 (KJV)

 

29 And God saith, `Lo, I have given to you every herb sowing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree sowing seed, to you it is for food; 30 and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to every creeping thing on the earth, in which is breath of life, every green herb is for food:’ and it is so.                         Genesis 1:29-30 (YLT)

 

Hey!  All of you vegetarians and vegans out there – did you get that?  There is no mention of eating flesh, or any animal products.  And the Bible specifically states that God gave this command to His latest creation – man.  Does this mean that it is a sin to eat meat and eggs, or to drink milk?

 

It is clear that at this point in history, man’s diet was to be vegetable products.  Look again, it even says that this diet was “to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

 

That would mean Sharks, Tuna, Whales, Alligators, Crocodiles, Bears, Lions – Mosquitoes & Horseflies – even Tyrannosaurus Rex.  What do you think?  Could that possibly be right?  Most people who call themselves “scientists” will flatly state that it is impossible.  Even the majority of Christians probably don’t believe that the Bible literally means what it says in that passage.  So what do YOU believe – and why?  Can the Bible be trusted?

 

Before  you absolutely commit yourself to an answer to that question, consider this image:

The Giant Panda, native to parts of China, is very much like a bear.  Indeed, some biologists say that it may actually be a bear.  Check his “dentures”, and you will find that they are not much like you might expect in an herbivore – and yet, the Giant Panda is a very picky feeder.  It eats only bamboo, and only certain varieties, at that.  A biologist who had never seen a Panda, nor known anything about such creatures would probably classify its’ skeleton as belonging to a carnivore – but don’t tell the Panda that, because a diet of 100% bamboo hardly qualifies the Panda as being carnivorous.

 

I (the parson) am going to make a bold statement here:  I don’t pretend to know the dietary details of how the various “kinds” of animals needs were met, but I’m confident that the Bible can be trusted.  It says that God gave the plants, trees, seeds, and such for food – to every creature.  If it says it, I believe it!  That is why God was able to make the statement found in the last verse of Genesis 1.

 

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.              Gen 1:31 (KJV)

 

31 And God seeth all that He hath done, and lo, very good; and there is an evening, and there is a morning—day the sixth.     Gen 1:31 (YLT)

 

Nobody – and no animal – was cowering in fear or fleeing for its’ life.  Every creature was supplied with a healthy diet which didn’t threaten any other creature, and the Earth, at that point, was a “Peaceable Kingdom”. (borrowed from http://www2.gol.com/users/quakers/hicks_peaceable_kingdom.htm)

 

It didn’t last, though!  As we study Genesis 2, we will learn in greater detail of some things which were stated briefly in chapter 1.  Are you wondering about the claim that God told men what to do?  We will examine it.  We haven’t even scratched the surface, but already, we catch a glimpse of mysteries which do not fit with our experience.  Does this prove them to be fabrications, products of overactive imaginations – or are we to believe what is written here?

 

Next time, we tackle Genesis 2.  Until then….

 

Be Blessed!

 

The Parson

 

Terra Forming the Earth – Day Six(d)

Our examination of the scriptural account of the original Terra forming of planet earth continues:

“If you’re a newcomer to this series, you’ve probably landed on the wrong page!  In order to fully understand this document, you should read the articles in sequence.  Therefore – Please read our previous posts before continuing with this article.”

In the previous three articles, we have been dealing with the scriptural account of “Day Six” of the Terra-forming process.  In the last two articles, we focused on understanding the nature of God – which is integral to understanding the meaning of the statement in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image”.  Let’s pick up that discussion where we ended “Day Six(c)”.

Just a Reminder…

We ended with the two following paragraphs:

“I (The Parson) believe that God is so different from us that understanding Him is an act of faith.  We must be willing to understand that God is completely unlike any person or any other being that we have ever experienced.  He is also completely unlike the angels – which are real and powerful beings.
God created the angels before the beginning of the process described in Genesis 1, and they were with Him as his observers / helpers during the Creation.  Scripture indicates that God is Omnipresent (everywhere at the same time – a bit like light?), He is Omniscient (He knows everything), and He’s Omnipotent (all powerful – He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants).”

Image?  What Image?

Our reason for that two article diversion was an effort to understand the meaning of the statement, attributed to God, “Let us make man in our image”.  Since we have discussed the concept of God being omnipresent (He’s everywhere, at the same time), that statement must not mean that our bodies are like His – but what else could He have meant?

It means that we are created with His nature.  Of all creatures on earth, only humans seem to be able to entertain complex, intangible concepts.  Yes, some animals are “smart” enough to use simple tools, even to “make” tools (as by breaking a twig) – but we don’t see any creatures devising complex creations in their minds, then building them.  There is no reason to believe that any animals have the capacity to envision the existence of God, either.

To say that we are created in His image means that we resemble him, mentally and spiritually.  The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah made a statement (Isaiah 64:4) that is briefly referenced in the New Testament.  It offers another glimpse into this difficult concept:  9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)

The phrase, “ neither have entered into the heart of man” is rendered, in the New International Version, “no mind has conceived”.  In The New Living Translation, it is rendered, “no mind has imagined”.  The key to understanding is revealed in the next verse:  10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.             1 Cor 2:10 (KJV)

Comprehending the Incomprehensible

To reiterate a point from the “Day 6(c)” article:  If you actually want to understand, you can – but only if you genuinely desire and request help in understanding directly from God.  In upcoming articles, we will be exploring this in more detail, but we really must finish with Day 6 of the Creation week.

Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV)  26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Gen 1:26-28 (YLT)  26 And God saith, `Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that is creeping on the earth.’ 27 And God prepareth the man in His image; in the image of God He prepared him, a male and a female He prepared them. 28 And God blesseth them, and God saith to them, `Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over every living thing that is creeping upon the earth.’

We have already noted that the “image” in which mankind was created seems not to be a reference to the bodies, but rather to the minds / spirits housed therein.  We will look in greater detail at this topic in Chapter 2, where it is amplified.  For the moment, we should note that which is emphasized in scripture – the purpose of mankind i.e. “our assignment”.

We are told here that God gave instructions to the first humans.  He told them to multiply and fill the earth.  He instructed them to “subdue” it and to “have dominion” over every living thing.  Unfortunately, many people – in every generation – have majored on those instructions, completely omitting the concept expressed in the KJV that mankind is to “replenish” the earth.  If we truly reflect His image, we should desire only the best for His creation!  In giving authority over the planet to humans, God never intended that we destroy or abuse it, but rather that we manage and care for it.

There remains yet one more key element in the account of the Creation.  That’s right!  Believe it or not – even now, we are not finished with Chapter 1 – but this document has become too long.

Until next time….

Be Blessed!

The Parson

Terra Forming the Earth – Day Six(c)

We continue our examination of the scriptural account of the original Terra forming of planet earth.

“If you’re a newcomer to this series, you’ve probably landed on the wrong page!  In order to fully understand this document, you should read the articles in sequence.  Therefore – Please read our previous posts before continuing with this article.”

In the previous two articles, we have been dealing with the scriptural account of “Day Six” of the Terra-forming process.  Last time, we took a bit of a side trail, trying to understand the nature of God – which is integral to understanding the meaning of the statement in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image”.  Let’s pick up that discussion where we ended “Day Six(b)”.

We have noted that Moslems and Jews who adhere strictly to dominant schools of their faith reject the Christian concept of “Trinity”, claiming that it amounts to polytheism (belief in multiple gods).  In consequence, there is strong animosity – even outright hostility, at times – between adherents to the contrasting faiths.

Don’t Meddle With Scripture!

Some modern translators, working on the latest translations of scripture (2012 +/-) have actually departed from literal translation of the scriptures – and they have done so to appease (or avoid offense to) monotheists who do not understand / accept Christian doctrine.  The Parson feels compelled to ask, “Since when do legitimate scholars modify the outcome of their studies to please their critics?”  This tactic is not legitimate, and must be rejected by serious students of scripture!

Make no mistake:  Editing scriptures to avoid offending those who don’t like what they say is absolutely never legitimate – whether the critics call themselves Jewish, Moslem, Christian, Atheist, or something else – and this web-site will not participate in such charades!  The Parson is firmly convinced that the words of original scripture were given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16), and NOBODY has a right to tamper with their meaning, no matter how noble his / her intentions may seem to be.

This brings us back to that conversation between God and – God?  OK, I’ll tell you what I personally believe it means – but first, a bit more background.

We are struggling to know the unknowable; to comprehend that which is nearly incomprehensible.  Scripture itself acknowledges that difficulty.  For example,           14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. I Cor 2:14    (KJV)

14 and the natural man doth not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for to him they are foolishness, and he is not able to know them, because spiritually they are discerned;
1 Cor 2:14 (YLT)

In very simple language, that verse asserts that unless you are assisted by the Spirit of God, the scriptures will not make sense to you.

Do You Actually WANT to Understand?

Do you want to actually understand the things of God’s Spirit?  If you do – and this means honestly, from the bottom of your heart – then you need God’s help.  If you think this whole thing is a form of insanity, and you don’t want any part of it, you should probably stop wasting your time on this web-site.  If you are actually interested / willing to understand -  God has offered to assist you directly, by the gift of His Spirit.

We won’t print it here, but using your Bible, Bible Software, or an online source, go to the New Testament Book of Luke, and read the words of Jesus Christ from Luke 11:9-13. I’ll reiterate just the first phrase:  “Ask, and it shall be given to you…”

If you don’t understand prayer, but you are willing to understand – You may (if you wish) speak to God out loud, but you don’t have to speak audibly, because he hears your thoughts.  Just tell Him that you want to understand His inspired Word, and ask that He help you, by the power of His Spirit, to comprehend what is written in His Word.  If you really mean it, without reservation, this study will begin to make sense to you – because God ALWAYS keeps His promises!

Don’t try to impose conditions, though.  Either He’s God, or He’s not.  If He’s God, who do you think you are to impose any conditions on Him?  This is not some magic incantation which may be used for your own purposes.  If you want to check it out, but you are unwilling to receive truth which disagrees with your present views – don’t waste your time, because, as already stated, He knows your thoughts.

Are You Still With Us?

OK – for those of you who are still with me – I (The Parson) believe that God is so different from us that understanding Him is an act of faith.  We must be willing to understand that God is completely unlike any person or any other being that we have ever experienced.  He is also completely unlike the angels – which are real and powerful beings.

God created the angels before the beginning of the process described in Genesis 1, and they were with Him as his observers / helpers during the Creation.  Scripture indicates that God is Omnipresent (everywhere at the same time – a bit like light?), He is Omniscient (He knows everything), and He’s Omnipotent (all powerful – He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants).

Furthermore, God exists independent of time.  Whether your topic is past, present, or future, God says, “I AM”!  The reason that inspired prophets were able to accurately predict events which were still hundreds of years in the future – including names of people who hadn’t yet been born – is that those prophets had a connection with the one who “sees the end from the beginning”.

Whom Should You Believe?

We have covered a lot of assertions which are not directly found in Genesis 1, but all of this enters into making sense of that earliest scripture.  I’ve told you what I believe, and I will support all of it with scripture – but don’t take anybody’s word about God or His Word, unless they can back it up with scripture.

Over the coming weeks, months, and years, we will explore scriptural support for these assertions.  Please don’t take my word for anything of which you are unsure – and don’t take anybody else’s word, either.  That sort of error is what leads to heresy and to irreconcilable error!

Until next time….

Be Blessed!

The Parson