Evolve. the Search for Truth.

Theories of Origin

 

Earthly Images of Eternity  

Stories are as old as humanity, but images are as old as the universe.  Stories use images to make sense of life…What matters more in the stories is how it explains the earthly images to make sense of all of reality.  And the most important part is rooting it in relation to God…not man.

Aristotle is often credited with being the foremost thinker of Western Civilization.  Which could only be true if you never read a word of Aristotle.  But one only needs read the first few pages of On Politics to realize how little Aristotle offered Western Civilization.  For if we would have heeded Aristotle’s words, we’d still be justifying slavery for Aristotle makes a reasonable argument for the justification of slavery which Moses destroys by the very fact that God sent him to free slaves.  Plato justified the use of lies to manipulate and control people, a tactic used by Communists and Cultists alike.  But one that our constitution guarantees protection against, and one that Moses protected the world against when he said “thou shallt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”  Over and over we have famous Greeks proclaiming insights that are at the root of when Western Civilization goes wrong, and Moses offering the divinely revealed insights of how to remedy our ills.

One of the many issues on the insufficiency of science is that science can tell me how things are, but not why.  Science can tell me how blood travels in the body, how it carries nutrients and healing, how it carries life.  But it can’t tell me why human and animal life on earth was designed to have life of the being in the blood.  It can’t tell me why blood is so important, it can only tell me that it is important.  Some say, just give science more time?  But time is surely not the answer, for as science teaches us, time is relative.  It is relative to when God created the universe, and it is relative to the son of God by whom we currently tell time.  The point being, time is relative to God.  We need an objective answer for God that is outside this universe, for that roots our reality in something everlasting and never-fading.

And the genius of Moses was not simply to spread his ideas in story, but also to root human existence in God.  For when Moses said “Let us create mankind in our own image” it allows Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers to write “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that mankind is endowed by his creator with unalienable rights, among these are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  The genius of Moses and the foundation of the American Republic is that both the nation of Israel and the nation of these United States are rooted in the one eternal God.  These acknowledgment and dependence on God guarantees rights of people to have life and to be free.  And only in life and freedom does mankind come to living out our calling as being made in the image of our Maker.

Earthly images to be a reflection of ideas to help understand the world and life.  And no image is better to understand our maker than mankind who is made in his image.  Let us not forget: when Americans fight for their own freedom, the founding fathers of our nation looked to Moses as an example.  And guess what they wrote on our own symbol of freedom, the liberty bell?  Words of Moses himself, taking from the book of Leviticus words that are inscribed on our liberty bell, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and to its inhabitants.”  Some may say that it takes a long time for people to secure their freedom.  Hebrews were enslaved for roughly four hundred years.  Americans fought for their freedom from British rulers for eight years.  Other countries in the British Empire, like Jamaica, didn’t secure their independence until the 1960s, almost two hundred years after Americans secured their independence.  The conclusion is either people are slow or God is slow, but whose is to determine slowness when time is relative?  Is slow compared to a 70 year life span?  Well then, yes, maybe 400 years of bondage is too long.  But is slow compared to eternity?  Well then, no, no amount of time can be slow when compared to eternity.  400 years pass in a blink of an eye, “For a thousand days are like a dream in the night when the day has passed by.”

So, science can provide insights but it cannot provide meaning.  It can provide hints of the design, but it cannot provide surety.  It can only confirm facts and make predictions based on confirmed facts.  But this was the struggle of Pharaoh, he could not perceive that “the times were a-changing.”  It was a fact to Pharaoh that Hebrews were slaves his whole life.  It was a fact to Pharaoh that Egyptians were rulers.  But it was a fact to Moses that God wanted the slaves freed.  Which facts take precedence, Moses or Pharaoh’s.  History shows Moses was aligned with what God was doing while Pharaoh was blind to reality.  And Moses didn’t confirm the facts to Pharaoh with scientific expressions and formulas or even judicial reasons for the dignity of each human being.  Instead, he simply performed signs and wonders and said “Pharaoh, let my people go” until the oppressor acquiesced.  Moses’s words weren’t scientific theories and laws, his message, according to him, was the will and word of God.  Makes me wonder, if Hamlet were around today, would Shakespeare change his words to Horatio.  Instead, he’d say, “There are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your science.”  But alas, Shakespeare wrote hundreds of years ago, at the advent of the modern scientific age, not while it’s in a beautiful bloom.  An old Israelite poet once said, “The flowers fade and the grass withers, but the word of God stays forever.”  This seems to be quite true with the words of Moses.

In the writings of Moses we have so many seeds of important scientific principles.  First, the world was created and brought forth by God, who is eternal.  Two, humans are nothing but chemicals without the breath of life within us.  Three, time is relative.  The first and third points have only been confirmed scientifically in the last hundred years!

Amazing!  Hundreds of years ago, peasant russian serfs who attended orthodox church services would have told you the world was created, that the universe wasn’t eternal.  A thousand years ago, italian monks and nuns taught the people in their communities that the world was created, that the universe was not eternal.  And thousands of years ago, in synagogues scattered throughout the roman empire, faithful Jews would have told you the universe was created, that the universe was not eternal.  And yet, scientists only confirmed this truth in the last hundred years.  Truly the thoughts of the wise and intelligent perish before the knowledge of simple, faithful, religious people.  This truth, that changed science and popular culture of the past hundred years, was hidden in religious stories and worship songs of simple and faithful Jews and Christians for thousands of years!  So, it is a quite clear fact that these simple verbal expressions predate the scientific explanations by thousands of years!  How we as individuals and a culture make sense of this fact indicate our worldview, including our prejudices and biases.

As a child, I thought Einstein may have gotten the idea for the relativity of time from a personal experience.  As I grew, I found out Einstein loved Dostoevsky, and Dostoevsky had many interesting insights regarding time scattered throughout his novels.  One was from his experience of being sentenced to die and proceeding through his execution as he writes for us in his great novel, The Idiot.  But as I matured, I found out Moses in fact had written of the relativity of time thousands of years ago.  His simple verbal expression predates any scientific explanation by thousands of years!  Let alone the sayings we have old as time, passed down via loving grandmothers like “time flies when your having fun” or “slow like the day is long” or a litany of other phrases and sayings and expressions showing the common person is well aware of these theories and insights, even if scientists take thousands of years to discover and name what people have known all along.

So, to it is quite necessary to the human experience to express truth in a variety of forms.  It’s not that truth changes shape, but the same truth looks different depending on your point of view.  Depending if you discuss time from a poetic standpoint, from a scientific standpoint, from practical human experience, your answer to the experience of the relativity of time may be different.  One person, taking a mathematical approach, may answer the question of why days seem shorter as you get older or why do they pass by quicker differently than someone who takes an every day experience approach to the problem.  One might say, “It’s because each day is 24 hours.  But as you age, you have more hours lived.  So every 24 hours is compared to an increasingly greater number.  So, each day seems shorter because you have more days lived.  When you are five years old, each day is compared to a total of xy days.  But when you are fifty years old, each day is compared to zzz days.”  But a humble grandpa might say, “Oh, I thought it was because your memory gets filled up.  And so you remember less.  So, each day there is more to forget.”  And both express the same truth from their various perspectives.  And we get a fuller picture from the various perspectives, not a better answer by limiting the answer to a solely mathematical or scientific approach.  Neither was wrong.  But each one of their answers gave insight into their character, their dispositions, maybe even their place in the seasons of life.

And when we look at images, like statues, they look different based on the perspective we chose.  We can look at a profile, we can look head on, we can look from behind.  And each perspective is true and gives insight towards the fullness of the description of the statue.

And so, a question that arises, what is God’s perspective on truth?  Can we even have that perspective?  Can we even understand reality without “seeing” the invisible God in our worldview?  Again, between Pharaoh and Moses, one focused on the eternal creator and the other didn’t, and the results were drastically different.  In drawing items realistically, like chairs or animals, the ability to see invisible spaces is a basic skill which aides in creating realistic drawings.  The visible forms you wish to draw are often rendered accurately if you focus on the invisible spaces rather than the visible forms or images.  It’s counterintuitive, you draw better by focusing on what is not there rather than by focusing on what is there.  But, from personal experience, I can testify this is true.  The reality is, drawings of images often improve greatly by focusing on what is not seen than what is seen.  So, the learning lesson from drawing is that the seen is best represented by focusing on the unseen.  By focusing on God, the story of exodus makes sense.  Otherwise its too incredible.  And too beautiful, slaves walked to their freedom!  The details of the Exodus story are too unbelievable otherwise.  But the facts are too remarkable to ignore.  Only by attempting to understanding the physical reality by the invisible forces to we have an accurate picture of what’s going on in Egypt between oppressors and slaves 3,500 years ago.

So, science deals with facts and theories and laws to discover truths.  Art is more free, it is more open.  Like Picasso said, “art is a lie that makes you realize truth.”   The great Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible Man that the benefit of composing a work of literary art is that it would “allow me to take advantage of the novel’s capacity for telling the truth while actually telling a ‘lie,’ which is the Afro-American folk term for an improvised story.”  Not all truth can or should be known strictly by scientific facts.  If this were so, many people of this world would quote my wonderful mother, “Boring!”  We need the freedom of painting, of music, of story telling, of poetry, of science, of humanities, of philosophy, of religion, of news, of biographies and testimonies, of history, of politics, of any and every possible way to explore truth.  Shakespeare’s fabricated stories and plays reveal profound truths of the human condition.  Moses’s recounting of the exodus story, retold through a method of literary expression rather than mathematical formulas reveals profound truths of life, among them the necessity of a warm heart and the possibility of the existence of an invisible god who acts through visible means to free slaves.  So, if God is limited to being an abstract concept, at least the God who works through Moses is one who does good things, like freeing slaves.

As we reflect on Moses’s life, we realize that our initial insight that Moses is a scientist is wholly inadequate.  His writings are the very bedrock modern science is founded on.  Moses decisively said 3,500 years ago — for context, this is roughly 1,000 years before Plato and Aristotle, two men frequently credited for permanently influencing Western Thought while Moses is largely overlooked —

(1) The universe is created, it had a beginning.  Scientists have only recently confirmed this as scientific fact in the last 100 years.  But Russian serfs who attended Orthodox church services three hundred years ago knew this fact.  Italian monks and nuns who taught people great truths nearly a thousand years ago already knew this fact.  Humble and faithful Jews who attended synagogue readings in the Roman Empire more than 2,000 years ago already knew this fact.  God-fearing people of hellenistic-jewish background already knew almost 2,500 years ago this fact.  So science has only recently proved what has been common knowledge among many communities going back at least 3,500 years.

(2) Time is created and relative.  Days one and four of the first Genesis story mark the creation of time and the heavenly bodies which mark the passage of time.  Oddly, the issue of absolute time is obvious if our time-telling instruments don’t somehow calibrate with space.  Moses makes this clear 3,500 years ago.  Time and space are created and heavenly bodies in space help us mark the passing of time.  And until our time-telling instruments account for celestial bodies and movement, we will always have to calibrate to man-made instruments and designations.  So, the way we currently tell time is based on earthly orbit of the sun or lunar orbits of the earth, but not our charging through space as part of the Milky Way.  As a curious side note, neither here nor there, until recently, humans have always told time by the lives of other great humans and people in power.  The ancients marked time via the reigns of kings and ruling dynasties.  But now the world tells time by the life of a simple Jewish carpenter descended David, an ancient shepherd and relative of Moses.  This descendant was simply a carpenter with a short preaching career, who was crucified like a criminal by the current world empire of 2,000 years ago.  Yes, this would be as ridiculous a fact as finding out in 2,000 years we tell time by the birth of some Iraqi or Afghan shopkeeper who was executed as a criminal and rebel for telling his people “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” or in other times telling his followers “I give a new commandment: love one another” and also “the rulers of this world lord their power over you but I tell you the greatest among you must be the servant of all” or “I lay my life down for you.”  These are not the words found on the lips of earthly kings and powerful people but an ancient Jewish carpenter crowned with thorns and crucified with criminals.  And so, historically we have related time to people and seasons.  Scientifically this was confirmed only in the last 100 years.  Incidentally, this was confirmed by a Albert Einstein, a physicist who is ethnically Jewish, the same tribe of Moses, and grew up in “Christian-influenced” Europe and attended catholic schools throughout his youth.  He grew up in an atmosphere that would have been familiar with the writings and stories from Moses’s life.  This simple scientific fact that time is relative to space gave rise to all sorts of pop culture phenomena, like science fiction fantasy and movies, including story lines on time travel as seen in books and movies like Planet of the Apes and Star Trek.

(3) Light is the foundation for life.  Biologists have acknowledged the importance of photosynthesis in allowing our earth to give rise to a diverse and varied life in plants and animals.  If, in the next few hundred years, scientists are able to give life to existing dust and chemicals, let us not be surprised if it has to do with manipulation of properties of light on the chemicals.  Before any life could exist in Moses’s account, God did say “let there be light.”

(4) Man is formed of dust (an ancient word that if we were to translate into scientific terms would be “chemicals”).  It is the breath of life that enables dead dust to be transformed into a living being.  But, since we might not have the true breath of life, we might only be able to create artificial intelligence.  Granting genuine freewill being a much more difficult invention.

(5) Man is created in image of his Maker.  Hence, the dignity that should be accorded to every human being.  And whereas great thinkers like Aristotle argue and justify slavery through his great powers in reasoning and logic, Moses frees slaves.  Great civil rights advocates, revolutionaries, slave liberators, and nation-builders like Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, William Wilberforce, and Dr. King among many others, use Moses’s insights on the innate equality of all man and our common dignity in the eyes of God to abolish slavery and create just laws and remove unjust laws that eventually gave rise to the idea of universal human rights.  People act as if universal human rights is a common concept agreed upon by all of humanity.  It isn’t.  It is the blooming of a seed of many ideas planted by Moses roughly 3,500 years ago, and has slowly taken root in our planet.  It has been fought for ever since by Moses’s many disciples and many people influenced by him.  The creation of countries and nations and people groups whose aims and reason for foundation is protection of these rights and sharing the good news of these rights in the eyes of our Creator with the world and making this the common precept.

Moses has done and said much more than this brief list, but this should suffice for now.  The question becomes, how is it that this common knowledge goes unperceived by scientists and society for so long?  How is it these thoughts, who find their seed in the writings of Moses, are forgotten and ignored?  How as a society, especially Americans, have forgotten these facts?  These truths?  How is not Moses not honored in our public schools, studied in our universities, acknowledged in our land?  For goodness sake, our liberty bell inscribes his words, “proclaim liberty throughout all the land and to its inhabitants.”  There seems to be a great deep seated bias and prejudice against Moses and we do not honor him as a great man to our peril.  If we do not warm our hearts to Moses, we will find ourselves to experience the same end as the many people and empires who have come and gone while the Jewish people remain, from the Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greek, Romans, and however many world empires have risen and fallen since.  If we do not warm our hearts to Moses, we will have the same end of pharaoh’s tribe and the law of death will have its way with us.

The prejudice of society to suppress truth because it comes cloaked in religious expression.  Sadly, it seems modern man is plagued with amnesia.  We arrive fully formed and forget how the development of ideas has occurred across the centuries and seas and …

So, the issue here is the scientific point of view, at its best, points to higher truths and realities.  When, in the pursuit of scientific truth, mankind discovers a truth, it opens a door of possibilities.  In this sense, science only confirms truths and can validate what exists or validate design, but it does not determine truth or design.  Science only discovers and uncovers, science does not create or dictate.  This practically why science can only be at most, a point of view — an amazing and glorious and supremely helpful point of view — but only a point of view for mankind to understand truth.  Inside its proper boundary, science is a great gift to make life better.  But outside it s boundary becomes a dangerous tyrant which promises death and destruction.  It takes the compassion side of human to trade-in the animalistic drive of science’s creed “only the strong survive” to take-up the religious commandment “thou shalt not kill” as the bedrock of our societies.  Once we lift science out of its proper role as servant to humanity, it becomes a vicious dictator, a cruel god, which rules like the most heartless of tyrants without the human impulses that we rightly nurture through the humanities and religion.  Science becomes a god of force, not love, for it indeed professes and encourages violent creeds like “only the strong survive” or “adapt or die” or “survival of the fittest” or “all beasts perish” and only confirms the “universal struggle for life.”  Science points to the need for humanity’s softer side, nurtured by religion and art and humanities that teach us life is to be honored and valued and appreciated, in all its forms.  And in fact, human society is built upon this compassion of love expressed in family.  This love being foundational for our survival.

We cannot ignore facts of history, like the advancement of scientific technology has enabled mankind to be brutal and bloody and conduct the most bloody wars in human history.  No animal destroys its own kind with such heartless ferocity for the sake of abstract ideas.  In the least, when a predator seeks prey in the animal kingdom, it is for survival.  Part of the cycle of life.  But how many humans have killed for the sake of power, greed, pleasure?  On one hand, in the 1860s we have the scientific world proclaiming, “survival of the fittest” while we have the entire British Empire abolishing slavery within its realm and America engaged in the bloodiest civil war of its nation’s history as men laid down there lives for the belief that slaves are meant to be freed.  The nation was engaged in a civil war which at its core was a fight between two truths.  One which stated that men could enslave each other, under any arbitrary pretense, in the case of the U.S. it happened to be skin color and ancestral heritage, while the other side was fighting for the truth that “all men are created equal”, and therefore joined with President Lincoln in declaring slaves freed and that their would be no involuntary servitude from sea to shining sea except as punishment to a crime.  The development of scientific ideas points to the need of other expressions of truth — such as religion, humanities, music, art — in order for science to be a service to mankind and not a god over mankind.

All of the created universe is an expression of the love of God.  All created things somehow communicate something about him.  Everything created becomes an example from which to draw from and explain something about God.  Fire, rain, water, air, mankind, life, death, trees, grass, clouds…all of these are images which can somehow reveal who God is.

Why create?  Like any great artist, because we have something to express.  Something that’s worth giving our lives for, dying to ourselves, forsaking the whole world in exchange for that pearl of great price which is the creation of something beautiful, good and eternal.  And the Grand Artist himself gave everything, not only himself, but his only begotten son so that we would know the depths of beauty, goodness and love that exists in this world and beyond it.

In hindsight, it makes sense that our universe is not eternal.  For then we would be too, and we’d be like a machine, without freewill but constrained to perform the same function for all eternity, which seems like hell to me, because it would result in eternal slavery or servitude.  But because there is death, there is freedom.  The problem remains in how to conquer death.  But if conquering death is possible, by having a universe where death rules over all, the universe has given us opportunity to make profound and lasting choices of life and death.  We have option to chose everlasting life or everlasting death.  We are not forced to be eternal slaves, but have freewill to make the choice.  What we need then, is someone to free us from the bondage of death and set us free for eternity.

…God created mankind in his image;
 in the image of God he created them; 
male and female he created them…
God looked at everything he had made,
 and found it very good…
— Moses, Book of Genesis
 
…For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil…
— Shakespeare, Hamlet