Friday, August 05, 2005

In The Image Of God, Eventually.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Genesis 1:26
I was just reading this in today's newspaper, and it makes me mad! (Well, it's not the first time.)

Click for bigger picture. So Mr. Bush wants to put the so-called Intelligent Design perspective into textbooks. Now, I happen to believe in the spirit of the ID point of view, that life is so intricate that only an powerful or intelligent entity could have done it. However, I also know that this is not science, this is entirely a matter of faith, and therefore, should not be in school textbooks.

If ID is found in textbooks, I'd also advocate that the rest of the world's religions'/belief systems' description of Creation be put into textbooks as well. All of them are also articles of faith, and there's no reason why one should be more feasible than the other, in the context of teaching material in science textbooks. Personally, I'd love to see the Monkey King (孙悟空)and the Jade Emperor (玉皇大帝)in textbooks; these guys are my favourite characters from Chinese mythology hehee...

Now I think this whole evolution thing is one, big, unnecessary conflict for Christians. Firstly, it's useful to understand the reason why 'conservative' Christians are so against it. One main reason is that it allows the possibility that there need not be a God in the scheme of things. Creatures can evolve by natural selection, by chance. Second, it claims that man evolved from apes. Oh, the blasphemy! Humans, the pinnacle of God's creation, descended from some monkey?!

But if evolution is indeed true, does it need to be interpreted in that manner? Absolutely not. Who are we to say how God did not create humans through evolution? How dare we dictate how and in what time-frame God, in His infinite wisdom, chooses to bring about humans. How arrogant we are, sometimes, we of little faith. Yes, the theory of evolution has the potential to take away the necessity of God in creation. On the other hand, it also has the ability to explain how creation came about, and probably a close approximation to what actually happened. This is arrived it by reasoning and careful observation.

I've read somewhere that says God may be a lot of things, but he is certainly no liar. The evidence that He leaves behind, the footprints of paths trodden in the creation of man, is vast and substantial. Can we discern the grand beauty of creation through evolution? Definitely. I once had a pretty primary school science teacher (!) who didn't believe in dinosaurs; I think she said it conflicted with her Christian beliefs or something. Oh, the tragedy! The refusal to acknowledge these grand animals just because of a suspect interpretation of scriptures.

But we must also be fair. Can the theory of evolution turn out to be wrong? For the sake of scientific humility, yes, of course. Science isn't that arrogant to keep sticking to a particular point of view if the evidence shows othewise. But for now, I think whether it's right or wrong is not really the main point. The real question is: do we let God do what He needs to do, or do we limit Him to pander to our pride and dismiss outright the possibility that we might have come from mere monkeys?

11 Comments:

Blogger Agagooga said...

The Christian church used to be against the heliocentric solar system also because it was unbiblical.

Friday, August 05, 2005 2:24:00 PM  
Anonymous A. said...

okay, question: If God is not a liar, and the Bible is God's truthful Word, how can all of evolution occur in 6 days?

Someone's lying, and I don't believe it's God.

And it's a myth that Christian Churches were against the heliocentric solar system. You'll have to blame the Vatican for that.

Friday, August 05, 2005 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

okay, question: If God is not a liar, and the Bible is God's truthful Word, how can all of evolution occur in 6 days?

It is possible for all evolution to occur in 6 days, provided the definition of days is not entirely literal! There's no reason why Genesis can't be a metophorical account... In fact, I'm almost 100% sure it's not a literal account. And God isn't lying, it's just that we're misinterpreting. :)

Same thing with what Gabriel points out, sometimes for some reason (for control or otherwise), official teachings have to toe the line...

Friday, August 05, 2005 5:26:00 PM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

The bible also contradicts itself and reality (a flat earth), so something is rotten in the State of Denmark.


And quoth I:

"In passing, it is worth noting that it wasn't just the Catholics who felt threatened by Galileo's pronouncements. Martin Luther criticized Galileo as a 'madman' who, in his yearn 'for a reputation', would subvert the whole science of astronomy. 'Scripture tells us', wrote Luther, 'that Joshua bade the sun, not the earth, to stand still.'"

* (note: Bradford R. Martin, Jr. emailed us, "I note that Richard Shenkman's reference to Martin Luther's criticism of Galileo cannot be accurate since Martin Luther died in 1546 and Galileo was not born until 1564. I believe it was Copernicus that Luther condemned for his views."
* --- ed: dates not being our thing, we have checked with the Encyclopaedia Britannica and, indeed, Brad is right: Luther died before Galileo was born and so Shenkman must have been referring to Luther's reaction to the idea and maybe to Copernicus!)
* History of the Christian Church, Book 7, Chapter 5 mentions of Luther, "He shared in the traditional superstitions of his age. He believed in witchcraft, and had many a personal encounter with the Devil in sleepless nights. He was reluctant to accept the new Copernican system of astronomy, because Joshua bade the sun stand still, not the earth."


So don't heap all the blame on the Catholic church. In fact nowadays the Fundie Protestants are more nasty.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 3:34:00 AM  
Blogger akikonomu said...

1. I'd object. Intelligent design is not a scientific theory. It lacks falsifiability.

2. Most branches of Judaism, and their religious commentaries already consider the Pentateuch to be a non-literal metaphorical account. Why do Christians hate to consider that?

Saturday, August 06, 2005 7:49:00 PM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

1) Yup, you're right; I mention this in the main story.

2) This isn't just about Christians. Fundamentalist Muslims or other faiths/cults etc. who prefer to interpret literally also share similarities. (However, not all Christians like to interpret literally everything.) I think if teachings are not taken literally, it creates a type of slippery slope. If some things can be considered in a non-literal or a metaphorical sense, wham! what about all the other things? And then there's shades of grey, and it becomes messy. And then here's room for debate and reasoning in context and.... and... This is just a little too complicated! What if the congregation starts to question? How do we answer them? If we start to let people do their own thinking, there'd be trouble.

So, I think from an administrative POV, it's easier/less hassle when interpreting things literally because there's less/no room for arguing about the 'difficult points'...

Saturday, August 06, 2005 11:25:00 PM  
Anonymous a. said...

It's undeniable that the Vatican deserves blame for for many things. And it's true Protestants aren't blameless either! They're just as guilty for murderously persecuting non-Protestants and Biblically separated Churches (Independent Baptists, Waldenses, Wycliffe, Tyndale, for example).

Back to the topic. Consider what the Bible says about the Earth,

Isaiah 40:22
"It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:"

The word "circle" here gives the idea of "compassing" or "sphere". Looks like Luther was wrong.

I don't put stock in Luther's or any man's doctrines, because the Bible's better at giving truth.

But I'm just curious - if Jesus intepreted the Old testament literally, don't you think we should too? (Matt 12:40, John 10:35)

Saturday, August 06, 2005 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

So if the world was created in 7 days, why does it appear to be billions of years old?

Sunday, August 07, 2005 2:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

< Read the book 'Science of God', it will explain the concept of '6 days' without any contradictions from physics and mathematics point of view. In fact, you will realise that there is no contradiction between science and religion. They complement each other instead. Science and religion complete the concept of 'God'. It is only a matter of perspective. In other words, ID is 'God', Evolution is 'God', Science is 'God', Religion is 'God', Faith is 'God', Hope is 'God'. It is like 6 blind men touching an elephant. Hey, we are children of God, like it or not. Amen!>

Sunday, August 07, 2005 6:32:00 PM  
Blogger Visible, Invisible said...

I have to say this... Sometimes science does not, and cannot, be a prover of everything and they (scientists) have been wrong before...

As for the question on the billion years... Well, how certain can we be on the accuracy of the dating method they use? Who know, in years later they might discovered that, well, their dating method is wrong!!!

I have always felt, and I believe this has been said before, that the Bible hold the spiritual account, not scientific account. And, so far, whatever that has been describe in Bible has been held true... Even the "missing" day (or hours, can't quite remember the exact amount)...

Friday, September 23, 2005 1:54:00 AM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

I have to say this... Sometimes science does not, and cannot, be a prover of everything and they (scientists) have been wrong before...

I think one of the best things about science is that it never dares to claim that it is always right, or that it's in the business of 'proving things'. It goes whereever the evidence leads to...

Thursday, December 22, 2005 11:06:00 AM  

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