Science and God Reconciled - A Project Overview
“Interpretation of biblical passages must be informed by the current state of demonstrable knowledge.” ~ St. Augustine
400 years ago, through his invention of the telescope, Galileo witnessed that Venus has phases just as the moon does. This proved without a doubt that the planets revolve around the sun, just as Copernicus theorized 200 years prior. Until Copernicus, no one had comprehensively considered it. Astronomers assumed the heavens revolved around a motionless earth for centuries and built a complex model of the planetary system around that assumption. The church not only based their interpretations of the bible on this same assumption, they condemned any idea other than an earth-centric universe as heresy.
Galileo was a devout catholic. When he witnessed with his own eyes undeniable proof that the earth and all the planets actually revolved around the sun, he did not assume this meant the bible was false. He simply assumed that we were wrong in how we perceived it. When he attempted to interpret scripture independent of the church based on this new fact, he ended up spending the rest of his life under house arrest due to the Roman Inquisition finding him ‘vehemently suspect of heresy‘. Needless to say, it took a little while longer for the idea to really catch on.
This hub series will be non-stop heresy by some people’s views. I will be interpreting scripture independent of any organized church and publishing these interpretations into the social consciousness to be pondered, criticized, or proven utterly ridiculous in a series collectively titled 'God Created Evolution'.
Over the course of several different essays I hope to convey two things:
- Illustrate not only that the bible confirms humans existed before Adam, but that it’s actually a vital piece of the story.
- Show how this one puzzle piece, when placed in the right position, may actually explain way more about human history than just the proper context of the stories of the bible.
The assumption that Adam was the first human to exist is probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks for believers where modern scientific theories of human development are concerned. Beliefs about God and life have been built around this interpretation, much like the theories built around the earth-centric model of the planetary system mentioned above. And just as that incorrect planetary model served humanity well where tracking the heavens were concerned, so have many of the ideas born of the traditional Christian/Jewish/Muslim understanding of creation where matters of spirituality are concerned.
Astronomers could never quite tweak an earth-centric planetary system to absolute accuracy. They were extremely close, and managed to advance mathematical thinking exponentially in their attempts to do so, but there were obvious gaps that just couldn’t be hashed out. Ptolemy’s calculations of planetary paths across the night sky is a perfect example of this.
Now we find ourselves in a very similar situation. Many believers continue to reject all rationality and reason when traditional interpretations of the bible and scientifically proven facts appear to contradict, and find themselves puzzling over many very similar ‘gaps’ in the story. Gaps in this case being passages of scripture that read like riddles in the wrong context. Gaps in human history that have baffled us for centuries. Gaps that I will attempt to show disappear if placed in the right context. Like moving the sun to the center of our planetary system.
Here's the idea the hypothesis was first built around. The first few verses of Genesis 6, right at the beginning, is explaining why the flood was necessary. And that paragraph is probably one of the least understood, most debated, most wildly speculated verses in all the bible. These verses are more detailed than the bible typically is, yet no one can seem to agree on what they're talking about ...
Gen6:1-4 - When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
This is just one chapter after the one that says Adam and his family lived for hundreds of years. And the only humans are supposed to just be the ones in Adam's family. Yet this is talking about multiple groups, sons of God, daughters of humans, "Nephilim". And it says that compared to the 'sons of God', humans are "mortal" and only live 120 years. The most assumed meaning is that the 'sons of God' are angels. But that directly contradicts numerous other passages in the bible.
So it hit me. It was always strange to me how the creation of humans was covered twice, and described so differently. The main thing that got me was that Adam was given just one rule and he broke it almost right away. So why should God or anyone expect them to "be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, establish dominance in the animal kingdom"? Because God said? Clearly that doesn't work so well. The commands given to humans in the creation account would take generations to carry out. And Adam/Eve proved capable and willing to veer from God's will almost immediately. Generation 0. Yet, at the end of the creation account God looks on ALL He made and deemed it "good". What?
Well, here's the answer. They're not the same event. Once that clicks and you re-read the text it makes so much more sense. The Gen1 humans ARE homo sapiens. And what they were commanded to do is exactly what homo sapiens actually did. They reproduced, filled the earth, and established themselves as the dominant species.
So I had a hypothesis that kept proving uncannily on point as I continued to read. It made some of the most vague and strange passages make sense. So, to test I built a framework around the timeline given in Genesis to determine when each recognizable event happened along that timeline, and began to search the history of Mesopotamia. I knew because Abraham was 20 generations, and roughly 2000 years, after Adam, and that Abraham was from Sumer and had dealings with the Egyptians, that Adam's creation could not have been any earlier than roughly 6000BC. So, armed with a crazy idea, I went off exploring. I formed predictions that said if this is true, then this should also be true. Literally dozens of predictions proved true, one after another.
Now, here's one of those predictions. What if beings like Adam and Eve were created one day like described, only in an environment already populated by humans? If that's true, what else is true? Well, for one thing, you'd expect those populations to in some way be impacted by this. You might look for evidence in their writings or in any other rather drastic changes that may have happened. Well, it turns out what you should expect to see is exactly what we do see. Mythology.
The geo-patterns of the various mythologies is another thing that's always fascinated me. The type that most often comes to mind, is the multi-god Greek/Roman type of thing. Well, there were a good dozen or more cultures that had gods like that. And they were all very similar. They all talked of these male/female gods who lived among them, sometimes mated and had children with them, they were moody and unpredictable, often at odds with one another, etc. I'm sure you're familiar. Well all the cultures that had mythologies like that all existed right around the Mediterranean. Egyptians, Sumerians, Akkadians, Greeks, Romans, the Indus Valley, and on and on.
And there weren't just stories. There were stories that went along with the evidence. For example, in Sumer. We know Sumer to be the first civilization and we know they invented a truly staggering list of human 'firsts'. The wheel, the written language, written laws, jails, schools, civilization of course, mathematics, astrology, and on and on. What's interesting is that, according to the Sumerians, a god showed up one day, built a city, and taught them all this stuff. And there wasn't just one god, but a lot. But it started with this one.
Funny thing, Genesis says Cain was kicked out of the garden. It says the ground would be cursed and that, even though he knew how to farm, he would not be able to grow food. God said he would be a "restless wanderer" on the earth. But then, literally 2 lines later, it says Cain settled and built a city.
Well, according to the Sumerians this god told them that he created them to be his labor. He taught them how to farm, built a city with a temple at the center, and organized and led the work forces from there. So, follow me on this, Cain is apparently unable to grow his own food, but has the knowledge of how, then settles though he's not supposed to be able to, by building a city that of course attracts a lot of people because there's work and there's food. Could this be the way Cain side-stepped his "restless wanderer" fate?
**Archaeologically, Eridu, the first city of the Ubaid culture (5500BC) was the first case anywhere of a culture where the leadership was centralized.
So, not only is the evidence we should expect plentiful in mythological stories, not only are they right when/where we should expect them, but once you get into the details it gets even better. That's just one example. As I'm sure you know, the Sumerian texts echo a lot of things spoken of in Genesis. A large flood survived by a single "flood hero" who was warned ahead of time, built a boat, and saved a bunch of animals, longer lifespans before the flood than after, a once universal language confused into many... A lot. And of course a lot of people jump to the conclusion, because the Sumerian texts are older, that Genesis is copied from these. The other more likely explanation, given the evidence, is that they're both separately describing the same series of real events that really happened. Gen2-11 is exactly what we should expect to be consistent between the two versions because it is there that the Babel story happens. They all get dispersed at that point. But up until then, we should expect cohesion, just as we see.
Now, all the things that should exist do. A roughly 1500 year long culture that matches up with what's predicted because of its length of existence, because of the behavior changes being the first anywhere, because there was indeed a city built, and that city does indeed have the oldest ziggaurat/tower known. Others suspect this tower to be the tower of Babel as well, though they arrived that that conclusion very differently than I did.
The Genesis creation account is scientifically accurate
The creation account in Genesis is a point of contention for many. It’s thought by most that the account of creation in Genesis in no way resembles the formation of the earth and all life on it as we now understand it through scientific reasoning and analysis. Even amongst believers you either have those who insist it happened over the course of six days and science is just plain wrong, or you have those who see it more as a metaphorical explanation and not something to be taken literally.
In verse 2 the creation account of Genesis establishes two key bits of information. First, it describes the state of the earth at the beginning of the creation account as being covered in ocean and shrouded in darkness, and second it establishes the point of view in which creation is being described by explaining that it was ‘from the surface’ that God said “Let there be light” in verse 3. With the description of the earth’s state at the beginning matching up with the state of the earth at the beginning of the Archaen eon according to the scientific account, this establishes a starting point. From there, while keeping in mind the from-the-surface point of view, Genesis proves to be very much on point with its description of how this planet and all life on it formed, describing it from a human point of view though humans don't show up until the end.
While it may seem at first that the creation account is not relevant to the theory I’m putting forth in this series of hubs that deals primarily with Genesis 2-11, the creation account does play a vital role in setting the stage on which the stories of Genesis 2-11 take place.
Adam was not the first human, for the bible tells us so
The book of Genesis as we know it today was pieced together from multiple even older sources. The portion of the story dealing with Adam, Eve, and their children, through the sons of Noah and their descendants, on through to the Babel story, are recognized to be one complete story. Actually, it’s the combination of two texts that told such similar stories that they were eventually just edited together. What is not known is how old they are or who wrote them.
Being one of the more well-known pieces of literature in human history, many have already made their minds up about how to read this story. Even though those interpretations were made by people who had neither firsthand information about the writers nor the knowledge of the natural world we have now. And when new information comes to light that shows the traditional interpretation of these texts to be false, rather than reconsider the interpretation of the texts, the texts themselves are often dismissed, or the learned information that renders these interpretations false is rejected. Between the original writers and the collective information of this modern age, it’s the interpretation of people throughout the centuries that is most suspect.
This hub first introduces the primary idea behind the ‘God Created Evolution’ project. The primary idea being, what if the interpretation that says Adam was the first human ever is wrong? Remove that one thing and all of the sudden these stories become much less mythological and much more historical. History only recently learned.
Cain, his city, and his descendants
Without much in the way of context as far as describing the setting these stories are set against, the story of Cain and his descendants is one of the more ambiguous portions of an already ambiguous story. Though Genesis gives very little about the pre-flood world, it spends half a chapter talking about a city that Cain built and six generations of family. All of which was presumably destroyed by the flood not long after.
This hub further fleshes out this theory by delving into the lesser known pieces of the story of Cain after he was banished from the land of his mother and father. It examines the story in the traditional context, then reexamines them against the context of actual history. And it begins to draw comparisons between Cain himself and mythological stories of a prominent figure in that age that shares some rather significant similarities, including the building of a city and the significance of his sixth generation.
The mysterious unnamed characters of pre-flood Genesis
Beyond the primary players in the pre-flood story of Genesis, not much else is given. Which is probably why so many have assumed for so long that the creation of Adam was the introduction of humanity to the planet. However, when read in that traditional context, there are a few lines in particular that make little sense if Adam and his descendants are to be the only people in existence.
This hub takes this idea further by reconsidering these mysterious characters in a context established against the backdrop of actual history. It shows how much more clear the pre-flood story of Genesis is when understood to be taking place in an already populated world.
It first reviews these characters, what the traditional interpretations of them have to say, and why they don’t quite work. It then details the actual history of the region and timeframe in question and what the people of that age had to say. Then, it shows how the primary idea behind this project not only makes sense out of these characters, but then further extends that idea out through to the time of Abraham in Genesis to paint an old familiar story in a new light.
'God Created Evolution' Hubs
- Genesis Creation Story is Scientifically Accurate
Reading the Genesis creation account in the context of the modern scientific understanding of the earth's geological formation and the evolution of life proves to be incredibly accurate and insightful.
- Adam was not the first human, for the bible tells us so
Genesis makes it clear that Adam was not the first human in existence and that the flood was not global. Correcting these misconceptions takes pre-flood Genesis out of the realm of mythology and grounds it in known history.
- Cain, his City, and his Descendants
Though Cain was only one of three humans on the Earth according to traditional interpretation, there were 'others' he feared would harm him, he built a city, and his descendants introduced skills that lived on beyond the flood.
- The Mysterious Unnamed Characters of Pre-Flood Genesis
Some of the most debated mysteries in all the bible are found in the first few chapters of Genesis. This hub discusses unnamed characters who are casually alluded to, but never explained. Or are they?