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Is Genesis 1 A Jolly Good Myth?

There are those who, while believing in a Creator, have a problematic time believing that the account of creation in Genesis 1 is nothing more than a myth, one of the many creation myths found in diverse cultures. If asked, very likely they will offer various reasons usually not based on any specific criteria or evidence. Most people probably have never taken the time to carefully look at the specifics of Genesis 1. However, it has been my experience that atheists in particular excel at pontificating when it comes to the Bible. While having neither read through the Biblical record, much less having open-mindedly researched and studied it, they will blissfully declare without the slightest hint of doubt that it is “just a collection of fables.” But is it? The factual evidence found in the very first chapter of Genesis emphatically says, no way.
But this lack of faith is not too different than what people in Spain about 1492 assumed: a round Earth was a myth. Columbus was certainly asking for trouble. A round or oblate spheroid Earth couldn't be comprehended. If the Earth was a globe, then things would just fly off willy-nilly. Once a ship sailed past a certain point, it would have to fall off the planet if it were round. It made no sense. But as ships never fall off the planet, provided they didn't sail too close to the edge and not return from a voyage, then the world must be flat. This seemed perfectly logical. And on top of this, it even looks flat, well provided you don't look too closely at the horizon.
All this was before Isaac Newton's scientific discovery of gravity by 1666 [according to various sources, it's a myth that Sir Isaac discovered gravity by watching an apple fall from a tree] as well as centripetal force by 1679, which we know now allows those ships to sail all over the planet without falling off along with our oceans. 

Genesis 1's account of creation is much the same for people. It isn't until verified, accepted science catches up with the Biblical record, that some people will believe it. And even then atheists tend to flippantly dismiss it as someone’s interpretation, no more valid than an unsubstantiated contrary opinion. Apparently, the Ignoratti, those true believers for whom ignorance is the source of all knowledge, don’t like being confronted by the facts. [See the Sneakers article, Darwin: God Created Life]. So let's take a look at Genesis 1 and see what we can discover in the way of factual evidence. I believe we'll find enough evidence at this point to give Genesis the credit it deserves. As we'll also find out, science has caught up with another aspect of Genesis 1 just a few years ago.

But first, let's turn our view to the Earth and the Moon. Again, it was only recently, historically speaking, that scientists have been able to discover the ages of the Earth, and the Moon. However, our concern here for the moment is not the absolute age of the Earth, which is estimated to be about 4.6 billion current Earth years, but rather the age of the Earth relative to that of our Moon. 

According to rock samples from NASA's Apollo missions, the oldest rocks from the Moon are about 4.5 billion years old. This has led scientists to believe that the moon as we know it solidified about 4.5 billion years ago as opposed to previous earlier dates. Either way, the moon is younger than the oldest rocks on Earth by millions of years, as the Moon is thought to have formed from debris thrown into space after a major impact rocked the Earth. As this material was affected by Earth's gravity, it coalesced into our Moon.

In examining Genesis 1, we discover that on "day three," [See chapter four, The Blind Man's Elephant, for a discussion of these days], the Earth was formed including the seas and the dry land. [Gen. 1:9-13]. The Moon, however, was created on day four of the Genesis account. [Gen. 1:14-19]. The order of creation discovered by scientists is exactly the same order as the account in Genesis 1, although the author who penned the account, most likely Moses [Luke 24:44], did it without going to the Moon to gather up some rock samples and using sophisticated equipment and tests in order to know the Earth was created before the Moon.

Thus, it appears that the creation of the Earth on Genesis day three before the lesser and greater lights on Genesis day four is supported, once again, by scientific evidence. How is it possible that without the benefit of NASA Moon rocks for comparison, the author of Genesis was able to make this determination? Maybe Genesis 1 isn't myth.

Another interesting aspect of the Genesis 1 account of creation are days five and six. This concerns the order in which complex life appeared on Earth. According to an article by Corey Binns in LiveScience, 14 Aug 2007, he wrote, "Ancient four-limbed fish crawled out of the sea. Dinosaurs, insects and mammals took to the air. Our closest relatives straightened their backs and began walking upright on two legs." This is the generally accepted progression of evolution as discovered by scientists. Fish first, flying creatures and then land animals.

But what does Genesis 1 say about this order? In Genesis 1, verse 20 we read about day five, "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that have life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven."

On day six, verse 24 states, "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so."

Scientists have discovered that life progressed in exactly the same order as it occurs in Genesis 1. As science supports the Genesis 1 account, it hardly can be considered myth.

What may be the most amazing verification of Genesis 1 by science concerns the first four verses. Let's start in verse one. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light:' and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness." [Gen. 1:1-4].

What's interesting is that these verses in the Biblical record, concerning the Genesis account of creation, begin with a fundamental event, separating light from the darkness. This is an important point. Light [matter and energy] was separated from the darkness [dark matter and energy] not the other way around. In other words, first there was the dark, then light was divided or separated, providing the impression that light could possibly be re-absorbed by darkness once again. Therefore, as light is not a metaphorical entity, and is a wholly scientifically proven substance, i.e., electromagnetic radiation, it follows that the darkness from which the light was separated must exist as well.

Now a casual reading of this account in Genesis, perhaps originally written on clay tablets or papyrus thousands of years ago, even before the advent of the ancient technology of manual typewriters, it doesn't seem all that remarkable or significant except when you add in the relatively recent discoveries of high tech science. Namely, it's the suggestion that 20-25% of our universe is made of dark matter, [dark energy is said to make up 70-75%, while light matter, atoms, accounts for only 5% of the universe], yet we can't even see this dark matter. This is not too surprising as everyone knows, when it's really dark, you can't see a thing. Like gravity, which we can't see either, the reason scientists know this dark matter exists is that certain measurements taken in the universe tells us that what they are measuring can't be accounted for, in this case, solely by "light matter." It's been found that the existence of dark matter allowed the galaxies, like our Milky Way, to form. And it's dark energy that is causing our universe to continue to expand.

In a Discovery News article by Larry O'Hanlon on 21 Aug 2006, he says, "The astrophysicists know the visible stars still have the dark matter with them because they weighed the mass in the starry patches by measuring how those patches bend the light from far more distant objects. The more a starry region bends light, the more massive it is."

"In this case, the starry areas in the colliding clusters have far more mass than can be accounted for by visible stars or by interstellar gases - since the stars left the gases behind. The only thing left to explain it is dark matter."

As Astrophysicist Maxim Markevitch of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics concluded, “This proves in a direct and simple way that dark matter exists.”

Thus, science proved that dark matter existed by 2006. In the first few verses of Genesis 1, we knew that dark matter was part of the universe as much as light matter, although for scientists, it may have been a case of "out of sight, out of mind" the past fourteen billion or so years. But let's move on to what is the most intriguing aspect of darkness in relation to "light matter."

In another Discovery News article about dark matter, very recently, by Nicole Gugliucci, May 9, 2010, she writes, "... most of the evidence points to an undiscovered particle [WIMP, Weakly Interacting Massive Particle] that does not interact with "normal" matter or light in any obvious way." [See WIMPs].

This is an intriguing aspect of dark matter that it does not interact with "light matter." It's as if there is a barrier between the two keeping "light matter" particles from getting pulled back into dark matter. As we read, "God divided the light from the darkness" in Genesis 1.

Of particular interest here is that the English word divided in Genesis 1:4 is not one, but is two words in Hebrew. The first Hebrew word is badal. Badal means to divide. But the key to dividing the light from the darkness is the second Hebrew word, beyn. It holds the key to the mystery of separating light from the darkness. Beyn is used as a preposition referencing an interval or a space between. In other words, God not only separated light from darkness, but God put an interval or a space between the light and the dark to keep them apart. It's not much different than using the space bar on our keyboards to keep wordsapart, or words apart. As we read above, "... the evidence points to an undiscovered particle that does not interact with "normal" matter or light in any obvious way."

As there is an interval or space between darkness and light, then we would not expect the two to interact with each other. By definition, a direct interaction between the two would mean they no longer have a space between them. [Scientists Fail To Detect Dark Matter]. And if that space between dark matter and light matter disappeared, light matter would no longer be divided from dark matter. All would be darkness once more, and it would signal the end of the universe as we know it. Again, science has discovered what God has created.

Also, the Hebrew days began at sunset. So the Biblical day started in darkness, and out of this darkness comes the dawn, or light, which mimics the first day of Creation. We call this a nycthemeron. This is a 24 hour period in which the light part of the day follows, or comes out of, the darkness.

The "myth" of Genesis 1 seems to be as follows. Scientists have discovered that the Earth is older than the Moon. Days three and four in Genesis 1 says the Earth was created before the Moon. No myth.

Anthropologists and evolutionists have discovered life began in the seas, moved to the air and then to land creatures. Days five and six in Genesis 1 have the same order of events taking place. No myth.

Scientists have not only recently discovered dark matter, but that it "does not interact with "normal" matter or light in any obvious way." We learned that God on day one placed a space between the dark and the light to keep them apart. Again no myth. 

The major events in Genesis 1 are supported by scientific evidence. Therefore, in answer to our original question, "Is Genesis 1 a jolly good myth?" our answer has to be no. Genesis 1 is not a mythical account of the creation of our universe and life on Earth. It is supported by scientific fact just like gravity and centripetal force support the fact that the Earth need not be flat. 

While at first blush, some folks may dismiss the Genesis 1 account as nothing more than another creation myth, or a collection of fables, science has proven otherwise once again. Sherlock Holmes made an astute observation. "When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." [See the Feature article, Brown Paint: Quantum Theology].


P.S. "Adam and Eve were Jewish."

A discussion between Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar, and Stephen Colbert on his televised "Colbert Nation," concerning the superiority of Christianity versus the world's other religions, Mr. Colbert quipped in favor of Christianity, "Adam and Eve were Jewish. Check under the fig leaf, my friend."

It may come as a shock to Mr. Colbert, whose theological credentials according to Mr. Prothero's article include teaching Sunday school at his local parish, but Sunday school is not exactly a critical hotbed of theological thinking. First, Adam and Eve were not Jewish. It's not even close. Second, checking under the fig leaf would have revealed an uncircumcised male organ. Both Mr. Colbert's statements qualify as myth.

Question: Abraham, Israel, and Moses were Jewish. True or false? Answer: false, at least according to the Biblical record. The first time the word Jews is mentioned in the Old Testament or Jewish Bible, the Jews were at war with Israel and Syria about the eighth century BCE. [2 Kng. 16:5, 6; see the Feature article, Damascus A Heap Of Ruins].

The term Jew or Jews has come to be applied to just about everyone in the Old Testament. But this is a gross misunderstanding that has lead to lots of confusion by Christians and Catholics. The term Jew comes from just one the twelve sons of Israel, Judah. Only the descendants of Judah Biblically can be accurately called Jews.

Adam and Eve preceded Judah by millennia. You'd have to go from Adam and Eve through all the generations to Noah. Then through all the generations of Noah to Abraham. Abraham had Isaac who begat Israel who, with his wife Leah, begat Judah. Abraham was Judah's great-grandfather. Israel, Judah's father, as well had eleven other sons with three other wives. So none of the above are Judah's descendants or Jews. Rather they are all his progenitors.

As for Moses being Jewish, well that's not correct either. Moses was a descendant of one of Judah's other eleven brothers, Levi, making Moses a Levite, not a Jew. Thus, the Ten Commandments were not delivered by a Jew, but by a Levite to all twelve sons of Israel including Judah. [See The Hijacked Elephant, Appendix One, Most Old Testament Authors Were Not Jewish].

As to what was under Adam's fig leaf, it wasn't circumcised. Circumcision was prescribed only as a covenant condition, first mentioned in the Biblical record in Genesis 17 with Abraham, long after Adam's death. Later, with Moses the law covenant prescribed circumcision as a condition of the law covenant between God and all twelve sons of Israel and their descendants including the son Judah. Adam would not have been circumcised as the progenitor of all mankind.

While Mr. Colbert's retort was witty, it was fiction. Thus, it would qualify as a jolly myth.

Italics and [ ] are the author's.

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"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."