Phil Sutton's WeBlog
colliding galaxies According to 'Big Bang,' theory, the Universe has been in existence 13 to 14 billion years, yet astronomers have been surprised to find galaxies similar to the Milky Way at extreme distances in space and time forming from the earliest moments, suggesting a possible problem with the theory. If they still exist, their present light can never reach us. Knowledge lies somewhere between Truth and Belief. Knowledge could involve ideas believed to be true by most people and actually regarded as common sense. The Big Bang theory is now giving way to Rainbow Theory and the Super Hadron Collider will attempt to to falsify Big Bang on the next run. Fred Hoyle earlier proposed continuous creation.  Venn Diagram
The search for Truth in Science and Religion
     Because we are finite material beings living in time and space, we cannot conceive of non-being and logically this goes with a need for a beginning a middle and an end to every story (or history). If cosmologists need a big bang (not an explosion like the Crab Supernova) at the beginning of time to initiate the Universe, it does seem unreasonable to scorn the author of Genesis for his theory concerning the beginning of the Universe. I feel sure that he must have believed himself to be a true natural philosopher like the cosmologists of today. They themselves have no idea what to put before the big bang, (unless it be the Multiverse) especially since, they say, time also came into being at that moment. The author of Genesis put God before that moment, and when he writes that God said, "Let there be light," is that so different from the Big Bang? We are told by cosmologists that from that first moment, the Universe grew at the speed of light. Light came first in both scenarios before matter condensed out of that energy, so for a time there was nothing for light to illuminate. Scientists should have the humility to concede that there are questions beyond their finite minds and perhaps always will be. Creation remains a great enigma and scientific theories can be a matter of faith also. Crab supernova explosion
Chimps share human traits                The author of Genesis, as I have said, needed a beginning in time for the creatures of the Earth and for man himself, which he claimed had descended from the first couple, Adam and Eve. He placed the creation of the Universe within a seven day period which just so happens to be a quarter of a lunar month of 28 days. This calculation itself was a scientific discovery for Bronze Age people. The Genesis creation narrative became the cultural paradigm of his race and was sociologically advanced enough to provide a day of rest. Ours is the evolutionary paradigm in which life evolved over billions of years, and completed, it could be said, in God's good time. God being God, of course, his creation could not be other than perfect; "God saw that it was good, behold it was very good." The author then looked around and saw men doing wicked deeds. How could this be, if God had made the first pair perfect? Was the author of Genesis so different from modern sociologists who struggle to understand the crime and moral weakness that persists in spite of the best efforts of social reformers? Chimpanzees and Bonobos share some of the best and worst traits with human beings. They are aggressive, affectionate, empathic and promiscuous. They even kiss.
               His own solution was the narrative of a fall, when having been given every good gift in the Garden of Eden, including eternal life, the first couple chose to grasp for the only fruit that God had denied them, fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Can we assume that the author was referring to some psychotropic substance, which we know are used today in one form or another in many cultures? If so, the author of Genesis is warning that this path to transcendence is a delusion.) According to the narrative, it was Satan who deceived them, though we were never told that in the beginning God also created Satan, merely that, "the serpent was more crafty than any other animal that the Lord God had made". The Evil One seems to have morphed out of just another of the creatures, albeit one that could inflict a lethal bite, some might say out of pure malice, since the purpose was not to secure food. The Tempter told them that it was God's purpose that they should become "like God," knowing good and evil. Of course, being finite, that would always be beyond them, but human beings constantly over estimate their judgment. For every important decision the complete data and calculus is beyond us, for we never know how events will play out in the long run. We are fated to suffer the law of unintended consequences. Prayer for divine help would seem to be the only solution for believers. Bonobos kissing
Yanomami woman from Amazonia            When God later came looking for the first couple they said that they were hiding because they were naked and ashamed. That of course gave the game away, otherwise why should they know that they were naked? This question clearly troubled the author of Genesis, since no other animal seems to be conscious of its nakedness or the exposure of its genitals.This innocence is of course shared with young children who will quite happily run around their house naked, perhaps before or after a bath, or even outside if the weather warrants it. This age of innocence will sadly come to an end sooner or later when the parent first tells them that they have reached an age when it is no longer appropriate. But who told Adam and Eve that their nakedness was inappropriate? Not God; for it seems they told themselves. God accepted the situation and fashioned garments for them out of animal skins, so we are told. Did clothes and shame really evolve together?
               So why are human beings uniquely aware of their nakedness? The simple answer must be that they are uniquely naked, as Zoologist Desmond Morris stated in his famous book, "The Naked Ape." The author of Genesis does his bit to explain the shame of being found naked, but was Desmond Morris any more successful? The context of Genesis was the Middle East where the winter is hard enough to require protection from the cold and the summer hot enough to require protection from the Sun. In spite of the efforts of missionaries, human beings living under the tree canopy of the tropical rain forest need nothing more than the same fig leaves that Adam and Eve made for themselves. Indeed clothes for them would be constantly sweaty, wet and uncomfortable. However, these same Amazon Indians still often cover their genital area. There may be 'health and safety' reasons in an environment full of thorn bushes, but for a creature that is sexually active throughout the whole year the covering of genitals would be a way of reducing sexual contact and limiting it to the bonded pair. Disciplined pairing within the bond can potentially lead to speciation and the Hebrews could perhaps see themselves as a species as well as a culture. The naked ape has become the creature for all seasons, climates and continents; it is the secret of his ubiquity as a species. Clothes are simply an adaptation to life all over the world and to be naked in a cold or temperate climate is to be inappropriately dressed. Arms evolved to embrace
We are stardust                This Genesis creation narrative would be no more than one other creation myth, but for the fact that certain religious groups take it to be literally true. Indeed, insofar as it was the woman who was first tempted, this has marked her out as an inferior moral being, not specially made by God, but rather fashioned from an appendage, namely one male 'spare rib.' Not only has this inflicted severe social harm on women, but two of the Abrahamic cultures that put this narrative at their creation are in deadly conflict. There is only one 'take away' lesson from this narrative, or perhaps two, and they are that complete knowledge is a delusion and beyond man's limited capability, and transcendence from an 'eat me' is a dangerous delusion. At some point in time there was a quantum leap in mentality that Science still does not understand and only in religious terms can it be understood as perhaps an act of Grace. Were Adam and Eve in a state of primitive animal innocence or a state of Grace before the Fall? If the former, then in some way they lost their natural innocence, if the latter, somehow they fell into a later state of disgrace, and thereafter, according to Genesis, the whole human race. Rather than blame Adam and Eve, is it not more true to say that childhood is our, 'Garden of Eden' from which all fall from that childhood grace as we are pushed out into the World?
               Jews and Christians would claim that from that time forth, human kind carried that famous apple lodged in the throat, in a manner of speaking. But is it true? A doctor must make a true diagnosis before he has any chance of healing the patient. Jews said that salvation depended on strict adherence to Jewish law and practice. Christians after the death of Jesus said that human sin was so great that it required the sacrifice of a perfect unblemished sacrificial offering. Jews would remember that God himself provided the ram that Abraham sacrificed instead of his beloved and only son Isaac. Christians said that God provided his only son, Jesus, as the unblemished substitute for the Paschal lamb which Jews sacrificed regularly to propitiate their sins. The question is this, how did Jesus himself see his own mission. Clearly he saw that the human condition was desperate and needed redemption. Was he offering his life as a sacrifice or a sign? He recalled Moses when he said, "just as Moses raised up the serpent in the desert as a sign of healing, so must the son of man be raised up." Was he not more concerned that men should discover the Kingdom of Heaven, that 'pearl of great price,' that 'treasure' buried in a field, that he was prepared to use his body on the cross as a signpost? After all, he did say that he was the Way. We are stardust
               In religion, as in Science or general affairs, much depends on whether a belief or concept is 'true' and whether what passes for public knowledge is true. Indeed we should apply the same tests to religious ideas that we apply in Science where a concept has a probability of being true proportional to its usefulness, as Jesus said, "by their fruits you shall know them." The concepts of religion should be judged according to whether they illuminate the path to truth or whether they lead to more darkness, persecution, tyranny and death. Jesus proposed a method of falsification. Religious ideas should be subject to falsification like those of Science

               In Genesis, God told Adam that he was dust. Now Science tells is that we are stardust and that the elements in our bodies were created in the great supernova explosions of dying super stars, as shown in the two photos above. Is this something to raise our human self esteem? It all depends whether Man did fall from an original perfection or whether the inherited subconscious biological 'will of the flesh' still reigns supreme above the conscious spiritual will in spite of thousands of years of civilization. Only one of these can be true.
Adam receives a soul the temptation Enlightenment
Click to email me Above, we have two religious interpretations of events in the life of Adam. In the painting by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, on the left Adam receives something from Heaven. The painting above, very much in the Hebrew tradition, shows Eve being handed the gift of an apple which she takes eagerly. Adam seems to recoil and push her back with his left hand as if to say, "don't take it." The pretty Cupid-like figure has serpentine coils. On the one hand we have a representation of the rise of Man and in the other, the fall of man as a result of disobedience. In the two Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Islam, Eve bears the greatest blame because she allowed herself to be deceived by the serpent and caused Adam, against his better judgement, it would be said, to fall into sin and death. If as a result, mankind has really been sick ever since, then the doctor must diagnose the true disease before prescribing the medicine.  Click to email me
Next page Footnote: The galaxies above are colliding and though none of their stars may ever collide, gravity distorts them in stange ways. The astronomer Edwin Hubble was the first to associate the reddening of galactic spectra (red shift) with movement away from the observer, and also distance. This implied that galaxies at the edge of the observable Universe were moving away at close to the speed of light. The current view is that it is the Universe is stretching like the surface of a balloon, including the wave-lengths of light. Big Bang is often wrongly interpreted as an explosion, with matter flying through space. Either way, distant galaxies will cross an event horizon and pass out of contact with this Universe. Back home