Given that I’ve written much about the Old Testament, in general, and the Genesis story, in particular, people keep asking me to expound on the Creation Story. I generally eschew taking positions on such an issue because I prefer that people make up their own minds, rather than accept someone’s word for it (even my own).
My philosophy is that it’s not so much important what you believe in as that you keep an open mind to other viewpoints. That’s because I believe that Creation is supposed to be experienced, as opposed to understood. Besides as Albert Einstein said, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.”
Keeping that in mind, let’s try and break it down:
Old Testament background
As far as we know, the Old Testament was first written down in the 6th century BC after the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon. Some books of the Old Testament were actually written even later. Prior to the 6th century BC, the stories were passed on as oral tradition. As with the New Testament, not all of the stories/scriptures made their way into the Old Testament. For example, one of the most important writings, The Book of Enoch, is not in the Old Testament though it was widely quoted, even in the Bible. The Book of Enoch was also the source of much of the material in the movie Noah.
The Old Testament is essentially a history of the Israelites/Hebrews. While Judaism is generally based on the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), traditional rabbinical Judaism also claims to have an oral law which was supposedly handed down from Moses and which can only be found in the Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud, as it is called because it was formulated while the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon, is the basis for all codes of Jewish law and is considered to be the core text of Judaism. As the late Rabbi Stephen Wise, formerly the Chief Rabbi of the United States said, “The return from Babylon and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism.”
The creation story
The first five books of the Old Testament, sometimes referred to as the Pentateuch, traditionally have been said to have been written by Moses. The first four verses of the Book of Genesis, however, took place some 2,400 years before Moses was born (according to the chronology given in the Old Testament).
The oldest known creation story is Eridu Genesis which predates the Old Testament by over 1,000 years. Eridu Genesis is a Sumerian text from a region of the Middle East (now modern-day Iraq) which is in the same vicinity as Babylon. Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, was originally from Ur, one of the city-states of Sumer. So all roads lead to Sumer, as follows:
- Abraham was a Sumerian. Later certain Sumerian tribes (Abraham’s descendants) would become known as Hebrews and after that some would be known as Israelites.
- The oldest creation story, Eridu Genesis, was written (in cuneiform) in Sumer on clay tablets.
- The Talmud and most of the Old Testament were written while the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon (located in what was once called Sumer).
If in fact the Israelites had an oral tradition about the Creation, that story had to have come from their ancestors and from their homeland and that meant it came from Sumer and from their patriarch Abraham, himself a Sumerian. In addition, the Sumerian creation story was available (in Babylon on clay tablets) to Israelite scribes during the writing of the Old Testament. In any event, the Creation story is essentially of Sumerian origin and was grafted on top of the Israelites’ ancient Mosaic belief system.
The god(s) of Genesis
The Old Testament is replete with stories that the Hebrews/Israelites were polytheistic (e.g. see Psalm 82:1). Their belief in God should be characterized as monolatry (the worship of one among many gods), rather than monotheism. Only much later when traditional rabbinical Judaism became the official religion of the Israelites, did they suddenly switch to a belief in the one and only god (monotheism) – for a fuller explanation see my postThe Old Testament – Fact or Fiction? which is two posts back.
So if ancient Hebrews were polytheistic, then the Genesis story should reflect exactly that – and, by the way, it does. For example, in Genesis 1:26 it says, “And God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’….” Obviously, there was more than one god and they all looked like each other (i.e. their image and their likeness were the same). In addition in Genesis 3:22, it says, “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.’” It’s interesting that here in Genesis it says that man can become like “one of us”, a god.
Aside: There’s also a New Testament saying attributed to Jesus that is even more explicit.
However, how can man become a god, unless the gods are not really the Prime Creator? In the Genesis account of creation, God (translated from the Hebrew word “elohim” ) was said to have created man. Of course, elohim is a plural term which is consistent with the Genesis verses above. Obviously, there is a lot more to the Creation story than what’s in the Bible.
Yes, man was necessary to till the garden, or so the Bible says. In South Africa, the Zulu legends say that they were created specifically to work as slaves in gold mines, some 200,000 years ago. Interestingly enough, archaeology has uncovered ancient gold mines in South Africa that date back at least 100,000 years. Slavery, by the way, has always been a part of the human existence. The practice of slavery was even approved of in the Ten Commandments and the practice was blessed by the gods (according to certain Bible stories).
The Sumerian records are voluminous and very detailed. The Sumerian gods were a race of extraterrestrials (related to the Nephilim of the Bible) who came here from another star system primarily looking for gold and, interestingly enough, the Bible talks about the gods’ fascination with gold. The Sumerian gods genetically engineered modern man via in vitro fertilization, using in part their own DNA. Pictures of the Sumerian gods on clay tablets indicate that they look like modern man, only much bigger (again, there are references to giants in the Bible and the one-time existence of giants has been confirmed by archaeology).
The origins of man
The black race has almost no Rh negative blood and did not mate at all with Neanderthals, whereas other races did mate with Neanderthals and have much more Rh negative blood (e.g. approximately 20-30% of Basque people have Rh negative blood). This indicates that they resulted from a different genetic experiment, a different Adam and Eve if you will. Of course, the different races had their own Adam and Eve as well. The exact number of Adam and Eves is unknown but there had to have been at least two because of the differences between Rh positive and Rh negative blood.
Aside: Rh positive blood has a genetic link to the primate family, but Rh negative blood does not. All of which makes Rh negative blood the blood of the gods.
In addition, there has been interbreeding between the different human races over time so a complete genetic family tree may never be possible. Recent discoveries, however, indicate that:
- One of the origins of man can be traced back 400,000 years to Australia through Australian Aboriginal mitochondrial DNA. This study was done by Alan Wilson and Rebecca Cann who originally gained notoriety for their famous theory of Mitochondrial Eve.
- A new DNA study from the Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, found that ancient man interbred with a still unknown species (which is connected to the story in Genesis 6:4).
Back to Genesis
As for the Genesis story, the creation of the heavens and earth (in Genesis, verse 1) is just that, a story. The account of the creation of man has a basis in fact, although modern man was not created by God, the Prime Creator, but rather by an extraterrestrial race. That story is spelled out quite clearly in the Sumerian records and was the basis for Genesis, verse 2. The rest of the Old Testament is basically a retelling of the family history of the Hebrews/Israelites in order to try and establish a link back to the gods and the genetic experiment that produced them. Even the royal families of Europe today maintain their royal bloodline from the gods in order to give them what they consider to be a “divine right to rule”. The masses, however, are not supposed to know about their genetic heritage. They have been cut off from the Tree of Knowledge and don’t realize that they, like Adam and Eve, are naked. The gods of Eden believed in slavery. That’s why they created us, and slaves we are, even today.
“In the beginning, all there was was God. That’s God, with a big G. He created the Big Bang and all that came before it. Billions of years later, along comes god, spelled with a little g. Now the gods needed workers to help make their lives more comfortable, or as Genesis says – man was needed to till the garden. So they took the DNA from existing life forms on this planet and upgraded it with their own DNA (since they were a physical species themselves). In other words, we really were created in the image and likeness of god”.
– The Ethical Warrior, Genesis Revisited
The smartest man of all-time was arguably Socrates for he realized and acknowledged that, despite being one of the wisest men in history, he knew nothing at all. Fast forward to the 20th century and perhaps the smartest man of his time, Albert Einstein, who said that it was not possible for man to understand the Universe.
Nevertheless, many people today are seemingly sure of just about everything. Deists believe that the Garden of Eden was the place of man’s creation, scientists talk so knowingly about black holes, politicians carry on about global warming and atheists claim with certainty that God does not exist. My point is, as Voltaire once said, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” Nevertheless, people claim to be certain, even in the face of an endless stream of contradictory information. As Stuart Chase so aptly put it, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”
So, with apologies to Mr. E and deists everywhere, let’s try and break it down.
The universe consists of energy, and only energy. Familiar objects such as trees, rocks, animals and people are simply energy which have taken a familiar form, namely matter. A key component of energy is the rate at which it vibrates. As the rate of vibration changes, energy changes form. For example, ice has a very slow vibration rate and as you increase the vibration rate (say, through the application of heat) it changes form, going from ice to water to steam and then totally evaporating.
Everything in the universe is evolving, constantly changing shape and form. As Einstein stated, energy can be neither created nor destroyed, although it can change form. The Australian Aboriginals say that when we leave this world (i.e. “die”) we return home. In a religious sense, some people use the expression that we go to heaven. In actuality, we (i.e. our energy) merely change form and leave this dimension (Creation having many such dimensions).
Prophecy and the End of Days
People love to quote Nostradamus, Cayce or even biblical prophecy. It’s the End of Days, some would say. However, the End of Days was only necessary so as to redeem humanity from the Fall of Man which, in turn, was required to support the concept of Original Sin. All of this twisted logic was the result of trying to explain how God who is presumably good created man who is presumably evil. This concept is generally referred to as Creation Out of Nothing (creatio ex nihilo), as if anything could ever be created out of nothing.
The problem with prophecy, of any kind, is that science can’t even explain something so basic as how we can see. If you can’t correctly observe (see) Nature, how can you be sure of much of anything? So, perhaps A.E. was right after all. Besides scientists understand (by definition) that they can’t observe what exists beyond space and time. So no one knows what there is in the rest of Creation. That’s why all that so-called dark matter is “missing”.
The best that we can say about prophecies is that they may represent a possible future, as there are hypothetically an infinite number of possible futures. The interesting thing is that the timeline leading to the future is changing, if it hasn’t changed already. Consciousness is evolving rapidly. People are waking up to the virtual reality matrix that they exist in. Like Adam and Eve, we now realize that we are naked.
As for the End of Days, I’m sure that it will be the end for some. That’s the very nature of Creation, a circle of life that has no beginning and no end. However, in the bigger picture, we’re simply at the end of one cycle of life getting ready to evolve into the next. That’s the message of “My father’s house has many rooms” (John 14:2).
Yes, many people claim to already have all the answers. How sad! As Kevin Michel said, “Every conscious thought you have, every moment you spend on an idea, is a commitment to be stuck with that idea and with aspects of that level of thinking, for the rest of your life.” Of course, if you asked a thousand people the same question, you would no doubt get a thousand different answers from people who all claimed that they were certain.
But what if you weren’t suppose to know the answers at all? What if man’s purpose in life was to be an observer? For example, in quantum physics, the result of the experiment is changed by the observer. As they say, as above so below. So consider that man’s role is simply to allow Creation to observe itself, allowing it to evolve. Being an observer, man wouldn’t need to be certain of anything. Maybe that’s what was meant by the meek inheriting the earth.
“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold.”
– Eckhart Tolle
The Bible is the most popular book ever written. However, you wonder how many people actually have read it all the way through. For if a person truly read the Bible with a discerning eye, would it be possible for them to believe what has been written on its pages? Jack Miles, an American author who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book God: A Biography, said this about the subject, “Much that the Bible says about him is rarely preached from the pulpit because, examined too closely, it becomes a scandal.”
For example, would readers believe that there was actually someone physically present at the very beginning of creation who would have heard the famous words, “Let there be light”? Then again, would they believe that snakes could talk? Why would they believe in a god that lied (about dying if you ate the apple) whereas the supposed bad guy (the snake) told the truth?
So the enduring question is just how accurate is the information in the Old Testament, is it fact or fiction? After all, archaeologists have not been able to find a worldwide flood in the timeframe provided by the Bible. Perhaps even more telling is the dating given by the Bible for the creation of the first man since science says that homo sapiens has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, if not more. What’s more, the chronology given in the Bible is at odds with the chronology found in ancient Egyptian records. So let’s try and break it down.
The Old Testament
Genesis starts with a creation story which is brief, but somewhat detailed. Then there is no record, other than the family tree, for what takes place in the next three thousand years. So if you don’t know your own history, how would you have any concept about the Creation, unless…
you had borrowed the creation story from older writings.
What older writings would that be, you might ask? Well, the Israelites were a group of Semitic tribes, among many Semitic tribes. But exactly where did they come from? Well, the Bible says that Abraham was a Sumerian who came from the city-state of Ur. Archaeology claims that it has found this ancient city in southern Iraq and that it dates to 3800 B.C. The Sumerians were a very advanced civilization who invented modern writing (as far as we know). Among their writings, is the Eridu Genesis which is the oldest creation and flood story known to man. Since the Israelites forefather (Abraham) was a Sumerian, there is good reason to believe that they may have modeled the biblical Genesis tale after Sumerian writings.
The next detailed story in the Old Testament is the story of Noah and the flood. In the Noah story, we get the first reference to what is, in effect, a Chosen People. Noah and his family have been specifically chosen by god to be the only survivors of the human species. Along with Noah, the ark was said to have contained two of every species of animal.
Aside: Of course, that would have been physically impossible, although it would have been very possible for their DNA to have been stored on such an ark.
The Bible then goes on to say that the planet was peopled from the three sons of Noah. A couple of problems with that story are as follows:
- There’s no explanation as to how we went from eight people (Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives) to seven billion people in such a short period of time. Never mind that the children of the three sons would have had to have married each other as no one else was said to have survived the flood, unless…there were survivors (i.e. rather than a worldwide flood as the Bible states, the flood may actually have been confined to a rather small area of the Middle East).
- Genetically speaking, it’s never been shown how one human skull type can evolve into a different skull type (i.e. the different racial types could not have all evolved from Adam and Eve or from Noah, as the case may be), unless… there was more than one Adam and Eve.
After Noah, there is more genealogy stuff for seven or eight generations, but little, if any, real history. So the Bible story really starts with Abraham and continues with a telling of the history of his descendants. Here’s where it gets murky. You see, there’s no hard evidence in the archaeological record, or other writings, that many of the biblical patriarchs ever existed. Perhaps even worse, the chronology of the Bible doesn’t match the chronology of the archaeological record. What gives?
Origins of the Old Testament
Now the Israelites had been polytheists from the beginning (e.g. see Exodus 20:3). It’s true that they worshipped Yahweh (Jehovah), but only as one god amongst many. As late as the 6th century B.C., the Israelites worshipped the goddess Ashtoreth who was considered as important a god as Yahweh. Chapters 10 and 11 of Genesis give a list of all nations. It’s referred to as the Table of Nations. As for Yahweh, he was allotted Israel (see Deuteronomy 32:8-9). So the Israelites were in fact a Chosen People, chosen for Yahweh that is.
Nothing that Moses did changed the fact that the Israelites were polytheistic. The Israelites eventually rejected Moses and his Ten Commandments and remained polytheistic for the next 1,000 years or so. As for the Ten Commandments, they apparently were lost to history and then miraculously reappeared and were accepted at face value (see 2 Kings 22:8-13).
The Old Testament was compiled in the 6th century B.C. (or later) after the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon and rebuilt the Second Temple. Prior to their exile, the Israelites were still polytheist. However, when they returned they (the scribes/priests) had mysteriously become monotheists.
“So what changed? Simply this: Beginning in the 6th century BCE, the Persians became rulers over most of the ancient world (the Achaemenid Empire it was called). Now the Persians worshipped Ahura Mazda as part of their religion which was called Zoroastrianism. One little known fact about Zoroastrianism is that it was the very first religion based on the concept of monotheism. Ahura Mazda was omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Creation was accomplished in six days and began with a single couple. God (Ahura Mazda) gave his commandments to the Persian prophet Zoroaster on the top of a holy mountain (like the Moses story on Mt. Sinai). All of this, of course, is eerily similar to the Pentateuch” (The Greatest Story Never Told – The Ethical Warrior).
So the Old Testament was in reality an attempt by the ruling Persian king to convert the Israelites to monotheism, with Yahweh getting a promotion to “the one and only god”. The overarching concept of this monotheism was the dualistic religion of Zoroastrianism which was grafted on top of the ancient Mosaic belief system of the Israelites. In the process, the nature of God was radically altered from an angry, jealous tribal god to the Zoroastrian’s omnipotent, universal God Ahura-Mazda. Only now, he would be known as Yahweh.
Except Yahweh wasn’t the Most High, now was he?
“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations
When He separated the sons of Adam
He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.
For the Lord’s (Yahweh) portion is His people
Jacob (Israel) is the place of His inheritance.”
- Deuteronomy 32:8-9
The recent news from Iraq about the plight of the Yazidis has a few wrinkles in it. First of all, the media typically identifies the Yazidis as Christians, although they are not. The media also has overlooked a major element of the story. You see, the Yazidis are Caucasian and some of their children are indistinguishable from many American children. For example, here’s a picture of one Yazidi child.
Historically the Yazidis, mostly Kurdish-speaking people, have lived primarily in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey as well as further north (e.g. Armenia and Georgia). Yazidis are monotheists who trace their roots back to Adam (sound familiar). Many of their religious beliefs were derived from Zoroastrianism, arguably the first monotheistic religion and a forerunner to Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Yazidis, Aryans and the pharaohs
So what do the Yazidis, Aryans (ancient Persians) and some of the Egyptian pharaohs have in common? Well, for one thing, they were all Caucasian. So too, the mummies of other ancient Caucasian people have been found ‘round the globe (from China to North and South America to the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa). According to the history books, this is considered to be impossible. Yet, impossible it is not (for obvious reasons).
DNA tells the story
So you might ask how come we haven’t heard of this before? Well, the story has been intentionally suppressed for hundreds of years. However, DNA testing has recently cracked the door wide open. DNA tests on King Tut, the famous child pharaoh of Egypt, proves that he is directly related to most men in modern day Europe. Further, King Tut and these European men all have a common Caucasian ancestor who lived in the area near the Black Sea some 10,000 years ago.
Aside: The Black Sea is bordered by Turkey and Georgia, among other countries. Turkey and Georgia, can you spell YAZIDI?
The origins of Caucasians
The history books say that the Caucasian race can be traced back to the Caucasus Mountains of the Black Sea some 10,000 years ago. While Caucasians still live in that area (Russians in the south of Russia, for example), some of them were said to have migrated in ancient times with many migrating into Europe which resulted in the establishment of Western Civilization. That theory is based in part on language with respect to the Indo-European family of languages (which include Spanish, French and German, among many others) which is said to have originated in the area generally between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Today, over 3 billion people on the planet speak a Indo-European language making it the largest language family in the world.
Of course, Caucasians also migrated east to China and to parts of India and Pakistan. Anatolia (modern day Turkey), which lies just south of the Caucasus Mtns. was originally home to various groups of Caucasians. Caucasians also migrated to Iran (where they were known as Persians or Aryans). Then to, there are the Yazidis who migrated to Iraq and Syria (where they still live today). In North Africa, the Berbers and the Tuaregs have been the dominant ethnic groups for thousands of years and they are also Caucasian. So Caucasians have lived from China all the way to America, including portions of India, Pakistan, the Middle East and North Africa. After the King Tut DNA results, plus the existence of assorted mummies of Egyptian pharaohs, Egypt was definitely home to a Caucasian population in ancient times and still is today to some extent.
Aside: I’ve left out the Middle East’s Arab population although as Semites they’re also Caucasian!
A biblical perspective
The Hebrews of the Old Testament and the ancient Egyptians both descended from Noah, the Egyptians from Ham and the Hebrews from Seth. So to begin with they were kissing cousins (literally). Their bloodlines, especially that of the royal families, were mixed many times, one of the most famous of which was Sarah’s marriage to the pharaoh Tuthmosis III.
Of course, they lived a stone’s throw away from each other. At times Egypt controlled Canaan and at times the Hebrews migrated to Egypt, often because of famine. For good measure, the Bible even states that Esau and King David had red hair. So too, Mary Magdalene has always been portrayed by artists as having red hair although it is uncertain where that idea originated from.
History, the lie commonly agreed
So what’s been missing from the history books? Well for one thing, the Yazidis look pretty much like some of the major figures of the Bible – and why not. Caucasians presumably originated from the Caucasus Mountains which is very close to the Middle East (something akin to New Yorkers crossing the Hudson River to live in New England). After all, Abraham’s ancestors hailed from Turkey at one time. Even today, you can go to Iraq, Iran and Syria and see children with light-colored hair and eyes. Just ask the Yazidis.
What’s missing is the history of the Caucasian race in the ancient Middle East, where they originally came from and where they went to. Ancestry is a funny thing. You never know who you’re related to. Just ask the U.S. presidents (who are virtually all related) – even Barack Obama!
“History is the lie commonly agreed upon.”
Growing up in a Christian family, I may have taken certain things for granted. Take Christianity, itself, for example. Most of what I learned about Christianity I learned from our minister. It never occurred to me that I should ask him how he knew the things about which he spoke, especially since they had happened 2,000 years (or more) ago. As Brian McLaren, a Christian pastor himself, said, “One of the problems is that the average Christian in the average church who listens to the average Christian broadcasting has such an oversimplified understanding of both the Bible and of church history – it would be deeply disturbing for them to really learn church history.”
So here’s a little pop quiz, the answers to which may surprise you.
Fact or Myth:
The Bible is a religious book . True, but incomplete.
The Bible is actually a compilation of a number of religious scriptures. Some of the stories relate to events that occurred over 5,000 years ago (according to the chronology given in the Bible itself). The Old Testament stories were purportedly passed on through oral tradition, some for as much as 3,000 years before they were written down.
The Bible is the Word of God. Myth.
The Bible is more correctly the Word of Man about God. Certainly, God didn’t write the Bible and there is no proof certain that it was even inspired by Him. To confuse the matter even more, some Christian denominations use different Bibles which include or exclude various scriptures, so there is no one universal “Word of God”. Finally, some scriptures have never even been included in any bible. Even early church father Origen of Alexandria did not take the Bible literally. Origen had this to say about the Genesis story, “For who that has understanding will suppose that the first, and second, and third day, and the evening and the morning, existed without a sun, and moon, and stars? And that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden, towards the east, and placed in it a tree of life, visible and palpable, so that one tasting of the fruit by the bodily teeth obtained life? And again, that one was a partaker of good and evil by masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is said to walk in the paradise in the evening, and Adam to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance, and not literally.”
The Bible was written by Jews, about Jews and for Jews. Fact.
For example, Jesus and his disciples were Jewish. For the most part, Christianity did not even exist when the events of the Bible took place.
Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus. Fact.
However, it would be more correct to call them by their Hebrew names (Mattithyahu/Matthew and Y’hochanan/John).
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were eyewitness testimony. Myth.
Except for Paul’s letters, the various books of the Bible were not written contemporaneously with the events that they were describing. Most historians/theologians agree that the gospels were based on older sources. Therefore, the Bible is not based on eyewitness testimony. In fact, except for Paul’s letters, there is no proof as to who wrote the different books of the Bible.
The first Christian church was founded by Paul in Antioch. Fact.
However it must be noted that after the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were initially led by James, the brother of Jesus, through the auspices of what is referred to as the Jerusalem church. The Jerusalem church was the first movement to spread the teachings of Jesus. To some extent, the teachings of Paul conflicted with the teachings of the disciples as can be seen in the New Testament.
Christian dogma is based on the Bible. Myth.
While some Christian dogma can be found in the Bible, some can not. For example, the words “the Trinity” are not in the Bible. As for original sin, that concept is attributed to Saint Augustine (354-430 AD).
The Christian belief in monotheism is supported by the Bible. Myth.
Prior to the establishment of rabbinical Judaism (circa 6th century BCE), the Israelites were polytheist which has been confirmed by archaeological findings and as can be seen in the Old Testament itself. For example, Psalm 82:1 says that, “God stands in the assembly of El; in the midst of the gods he renders judgment.” Actually, the concept of monotheism is attributed by scholars to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (circa 1300 BC). Prior to that, people (by definition) had to have worshipped many different gods.
So, how many questions did you answer correctly? It might surprise you to know that many Christian ministers didn’t know many of the correct answers either. As I’ve said before, though, sometimes it’s easier to simply repeat what you were indoctrinated with than to seek the truth.
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”
– Stuart Chase
So Nancy Pelosi is at it again, essentially stating that Hamas is a humanitarian organization. Way to go Nancy! John Kerry, for his part, has the backing of nearly all of the world’s major governments and yet has been ineffective in brokering a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. So the needless violence continues.
A series of maps of Palestine have been making the rounds recently with no serious explanation of the context as to how this area has changed over the years. Therefore, a little history lesson probably is required.
To begin with, the country of Palestine has never existed. Never. No kidding. The way that everyone talks about Palestine one would swear that Palestine was a real country, at least at some point in history; but no, Palestine has never been a country.
Palestine was the name given by Western powers to a large part of South Syria after the end of WWI, which ended with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire who ruled that area for the previous 600 years or so. As for the Palestinians, the word was then used to refer to all people residing in the general region of Palestine, regardless of religion or ethnicity (even Christians and Jews).
After World War I, the Ottoman Empire was carved into little pieces by world leaders. It was at that time that Iraq and Syria, for example, became nations for the first time. Don’t ask what gave them the authority to do that – more on that later. The League of Nations, a forerunner to the United Nations, mandated that a large area of the old Ottoman Empire would be set aside for a Jewish homeland. That area was given the name Palestine, and accordingly their action was referred to as the Palestine Mandate. Once that was accomplished, they then carved out three-fourths of Palestine to create a new Arab state. Of course politics being what it is, the new Arab nation called Transjordan (later renamed Jordan), was given to the Hashemite family (Saudis) to rule because they aided the British in fighting the Turks (Ottoman Empire). The Palestinians, who made up the vast majority of the people living in Jordan (and still do), were left out in the cold. Politics is wonderful, isn’t it?
Fast forward to 1967. In 1967, Israel was attacked by neighboring Arab states and at the conclusion of the Six-Day War took possession of certain parts of Jordan (generally known as the West Bank), among other lands. The United Nations has since declared that these are occupied territories. Again, what gives the United Nations the right to dictate to sovereign nations? Besides, down through history the winner of wars has always acquired so-called “occupied territories”. Otherwise by the same logic, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are occupied territories because they were acquired by the U.S.A. as the result of their war with Mexico. So once again, politics rules the day.
The seeds of discontent in the Middle East were sown by politicians at the end of World War I and their meddling continues to this day through the United Nations, or otherwise (for example, the U.S. government provides substantial financial support to both Israel and Hamas). The truth is that, in politics, war benefits many people whereas peace does not. Because of their financial support provided to both Israeli and Hamas, don’t you think that the U.S. government could pretty much dictate terms of a Middle East peace if they wanted to? After all, they committed large numbers of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan to presumably bring stability to those countries. Why not to Palestine? Politics is why not.
So the next time you hear the call for a Palestinian homeland, just remember that for politicians it is just rhetoric – part of the process of continuing the conflict rather than ending it. After all, the Palestinians already have a homeland – it’s called Jordan.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H. L. Mencken
In 2006, Mitch Albom wrote a book entitled The Five People You Meet In Heaven. You may have heard of it as it was a best-seller at the time. The premise of the book is that you won’t know what impact you have had or will have had in your lifetime until you die and go to heaven.
It’s an interesting premise and a great book too, in case you haven’t read it. The premise is somewhat true, although incomplete. Here’s the reasons why:
Reason #1: You are not born, at least not as you understand it.
Reason #2: You do not die, at least not as you understand it.
Reason #3: There is no place called Heaven, at least not as you understand it.
That’s saying quite a lot so, if I haven’t lost you already, let’s try and break it down.
It was none other than Albert Einstein who said that reality is an illusion. Max Planck, the father of modern science, added another layer to the mystery by declaring that the physical world is organized by consciousness. Despite the mystery, scientists have had some insights, though, into the nature of reality. Here are some interesting ideas on the subject:
- The act of observing is an act of creation – physicist John Wheeler
- Man experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. – Albert Einstein
- Our reality is an expression of a deeper order of existence that exists beyond space and time. – Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe
So according to a number of scientists, our reality is really an illusion of consciousness, which harkens back to indigenous people who have always believed that reality is nothing more than a dream and that when we “die” the dream ends and we return home. If that is the case, what do we make of the physical world and our physical bodies? One way of looking at our physical selves is that they are a container, a suit if you will. Our bodies, then, can be more aptly viewed as vehicles for Creation to observe itself.
As Michael Talbot says, the source of Creation (heaven, for some) is beyond space and time and that is where we truly exist, and have always existed. Not here, but there. Think of the Source as a flashlight in a dark room (the universe). When you are “born”, the flashlight projects your light onto a wall of the room and when the flashlight is turned off you “die”. Of course, when you are ready to be reborn, your light can be projected onto another wall and you would then don a new suit.
Going back to The Five People You Meet In Heaven, I believe what needs to be added to its premise is this – since you have always existed you can not be born, nor can you die. It’s an eternal circle of life. Further, when you “die” and go to “heaven” you will be surprised to find that all of your loved ones are there, be they “dead” or “alive” in this world! Such is the illusion of life. Of course no one, not even religion, is going to tell you that.
Unfortunately, man is too preoccupied with surface values to notice the magnificence of nature, his true reality or his purpose in life. We blindly accept other people’s definition of good and evil, right and wrong or our place in the universe. Hopefully, you’ll eventually meet your five people in heaven. However when you do, I highly doubt it will be what you expected.
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then we return home.”
- Australian aboriginal proverb
In 1996, John Horgan, a writer for Scientific American, wrote the book The End of Science. Ever since, it seems that certain scientists have been fretting over whether the role of science is diminishing because there is a limit to knowledge.
Andrew Strominger, a physics professor at Harvard University, would certainly disagree with Horgan. In a 2013 interview, Strominger said that while science knows very little about understanding the fundamental laws of Nature the “fun is just beginning” with regards to new discoveries. However, while Strominger admitted that there are a lot of things that scientists are sure that they don’t understand, they can still describe them in a very precise way. Really! One can precisely describe something that they don’t understand. It’s probably better to just admit that you don’t understand it and leave it at that.
Actually, I agree and disagree with both Horgan and Strominger. Strominger is right, but for the wrong reason. While it’s true that we have not fully explored the cosmos, there are limits to our knowledge of Creation. Science has actually admitted as much. It was none other than Albert Einstein who declared that, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.” In other words, the fundamental laws of Nature are beyond man’s ability to comprehend them.
Einstein’s thinking goes like this: ““As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” Science’s own theory of quantum mechanics partially explains why. According to that theory, our physical world vanishes into vortexes of energy, into a quantum world beyond space and time, a world which is beyond our ability to experience. Since science is a process of observation and measurement, it can not prove what lies beyond our world, be it in a parallel universe or in another dimension within the Multiverse, or wherever else. Assuming that we even have the ability to understand the unexplainable (which is doubtful), there is still a limit to our knowledge because there is a limit to our ability to observe all of Creation (i.e. Creation, not just the Universe).
Max Planck, the father of modern physics, said that there is no such thing as matter, per se, and yet science continues to look for it (dark matter, for example). It’s sort of the trade secret of quantum physics – all there is, is consciousness. According to Planck, it’s consciousness that organizes quantum energy to produce “matter”. Of course, they don’t want you to know that you exist in a virtual reality matrix because that would imply the dreaded G word (i.e. “intelligent design”). After all, it was Jim Gates, a physicist at the University of Maryland, who said that there are computer codes embedded in the fundamental nature of the Universe!
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.” – Max Planck
Some say that the universe created life; further, that the universe has always existed and will always exist. Of course, that’s just a theory. No one has been able to explain exactly how that could be possible.
Einstein said that space/time (our universe) is a construct. So, the operative question is: Who constructed it? If our universe is simply a composition of naturally occurring elements (like, say, oxygen and hydrogen), then something had to have created it.
One of the hot topics in science today is what came before The Big Bang. Many scientists now believe that there is something beyond our universe, be it parallel universes, other dimensions or whatever. The implication is that there was a beginning to life, or a First Cause, that is outside of space and time (outside of our universe) and, therefore, beyond our ability to observe or understand. That means that science doesn’t know what caused our universe to come into existence in the first place. As Andrew Strominger, a physics professor at Harvard University, put it, “A singularity is when we don’t know what to do. What’s so embarrassing about singularities is that we can’t predict what’s going to come out of it.”
On the other hand, perhaps the universe created life through its own intelligence. In that case, it’s obviously an intelligent life form. We would then have to give a name to this intelligent life form. As I’ve suggested before, perhaps we could call it Bubba. However, for some, God might do just as well.
Yet, many people believe that they can use their own intelligence and logic to define the world that they live in. However, our perception of reality is severely limited, as it’s based largely on our physical senses. It was Albert Einstein that first told us that reality was an illusion and quantum mechanics has confirmed it. Therefore, what may seem logical to us is merely the brain’s interpretation of sensory data and not necessarily an indication of what is real. After all, what is truly real? In his book The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot explained that reality is simply an expression/reflection of a deeper order of existence that exists beyond space and time. This “order of existence” then would have had to have been responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the Big Bang.
Yet, man has the arrogance to think that he somehow knows everything about the unknowable. As Stephen Hawking said, “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary.” I’m curious. Could God ever be unnecessary? Does Hawking feel that a Creator would not have provided the impetus which eventually would have resulted in all things, including science? I assume that what Hawking is really saying is that we should pray to him instead of to a higher power. However, he has yet to explain to us just who created God. Was it science?
“Beyond all finite experiences and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind, the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded.”
A number of people seem to have liked “Conversations With A Prophet” so I endeavored to bring him back again. Fortunately, I was able to ask the following questions and got these responses:
Query: What existed before the Big Bang? Reply: Creation has always existed in one form or another, even before the Big Bang.
Query: Okay, but since energy can be neither created nor destroyed, our universe must have come from somewhere. Reply: As it applies to this universe, it is true that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. However, the rules of physics don’t apply beyond space and time. So, technically it came from nothing.
Query: Nothing? Reply: To be more exact, nothing that you would understand.
Query: So when Joseph Campbell said that “God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought,” was he correct? Reply: Yes, except that God is much more than a metaphor.
Query: So Stephen Hawking was wrong when he said that, “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary.” Reply: To refer back to Joseph Campbell, isn’t science an intellectual thought (emphasis mine)?
Query: Okay, but why do some scientists, like the aforementioned Stephen Hawking, insist that science trumps God? Reply: He is an atheist, isn’t he?
Query: I get that, but can’t science tell us whether or not there is a God? Reply: Science is a process of observation, is it not?
Response: Yes. Reply: Do you understand that science cannot prove what exists beyond space and time simply by observing the universe?
Query: I had a discussion with an atheist friend of mine about morality. He said that atheists can be moral too. I reminded him that Sartre, an atheist himself, agreed with Dostoevsky that if God does not exist, everything is permitted. Who is right? Reply: Yes, atheists can be moral too – because they have the same innate wisdom that all men do. Interestingly enough, though, that innate wisdom comes from the very source that they reject. Sometimes, people reject that which they can’t explain as they seek certainty in their lives.
Query: Why is there such animosity between atheists and Christians? Reply: Some Christians are certain that they are right because of their faith while some atheists are certain that they are right because it’s so obvious, at least to them, that Christianity is – shall we say – illogical. However, certainty is an absurdity. People who do not have open minds will forever be arguing with one another and will never learn anything. They will be forever committed to a certain way of believing and thinking and a certain way of life.
Query: So who is right? Reply: Neither one. Christians who believe that their holy book is holier than all other religions are taking a giant leap of faith – based on what? Did God favor only the holy men of their religion above all others? As for atheists, they often say that God doesn’t exist because Christianity is not believable. Even if Christianity fails to make a case for its god, it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist – only that one rejects God as defined by Christianity.
Aside: The Prophet told me later that God doesn’t need anyone to worship him at all.
Query: So where does mankind go from here? Reply: Be the co-creators of reality that you were always meant to be. After all, didn’t Jesus say that all men are gods and will do greater things than him?
Epilogue: For a man who isn’t religious, it seemed out of place for him to be quoting the Bible (John 10:34 and John 14:12). Then again, who am I to argue with a prophet.
“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”