In Search of “ELOAH” (God)

· Abrahamic Faiths, Christianity, Islam, Judaism
Authors

Adam & Eve were created in 3760 BC [1]

(8609 words)

According to the Torah, the Bible, and the Qur’an, the first man, represented by Adam was created by God, and according to Biblical text, he was created in 3760 BC (Genesis 5:2) [2]

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And then God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” Then God said, Let us make man in our image….in the image of God. And he created him, male and female. And on the seventh day god rested having created Heaven and Earth. “So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.”

God formed Adam out of “the dust of the ground” and then “breathed into his nostrils the breadth of life,” causing him to “become a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Adam was placed in “the Garden of Eden,” with the commandment that “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17)

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Creation of Adam-Michelangelo-Ceiling of Sistine Chapel

Then God cause “a deep sleep to fall upon Adam” and took one of his ribs, and from that rib, formed a woman, who was named Eve and who became Adam’s wife. (Genesis 2:21-22)

But the serpent (Satan) tells the woman that she will not die if she eats the fruit of the tree: “When you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  With such assurance, the woman eats  the fruit and gives to the man who also eats it. “then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” (Gen.3.7)

When Adam & Eve saw God walking in the Garden of Eden, they hid themselves from him (Gen.3.8). God calls to Adam, “Where art thou?” (Gen 3.9 KJV). Adam responds, ” I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen.3.10 KJV). When god asks Adam if he had eaten of the tree of knowledge and good and evil, Adam replied that his wife had told him to (Gen. 3,11-12). This is the second sin that Adam committed, the first being that he ate from the forbidden tree.

For breaking God’s law, Adam & Eve are removed from the Garden of Eden (Gen.3.23) [The Fall of Man] and both received a curse.

God first curses the serpent, “upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.”

God curses the woman, “with pain in childbirth and with subordination to man. You desire will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

God curses the man, “you will have a life of toil, In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground.”

God then expels Adam and Eve from Eden and the gate of Eden is sealed by a cherub and a flaming sword to guard the tree of life. [4][5][6][7]

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The Fall of Man – Michelangelo – Sistine Chapel

The Profound Influence of Genesis on the Abrahamic Faiths

The Influence of Genesis on the Qur’an:

Allah’s Creation:

The Qur’an does not go into detail in Allah’s creation of the world, but rather takes Allah’s powers for granted.

Several verses in the Qur’an highlight Allah’s power of creation:

Qur’an 2:117 Creator of the heavens and the earth from nothingness, He has only to say when He wills a thing: “Be.” and it is, and,

Qur’an 3:47 That is how God (Allah) creates what He wills, when He decrees a thing, He says “Be.” and it is.

In this manner, Allah created the heavens and the earth, the sun and the moon, and the rest of the universe. He created the plants and the animals, and placed them on Earth, and He decreed upon them the laws by which the natural order of all creation functions. The universe is an independent entity, it exists according to those laws and does not require (divine) intervention, yet it cannot “warrant for its own existence and it cannot explain itself” (Rahman.) In Islam, this in itself is considered conclusive proof of Allah’s existence. The laws placed by Allah take into account all natural phenomena and provide further proof for Allah’s greatness, which the Qur’an describes in detail.

Qur’an 6:96 He ushers in the dawn, and made the night for rest, the sun and moon a computation. Such is the measure appointed by Him, the Omnipotent and All-Wise. Natural law, as decreed by Allah, “reflects and issues from the order that exists in the Divine Realm” (Nasr) where Allah exists. [11]

The above has outlined the Genesis of the Old Testament, or the visions of God’s creation of the world and of man, Adam and Eve, as recorded by the perception of Moses. It is necessary to see how Genesis has influenced the thinking of early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The following Qur’anic excerpts show the similarities of the history of the World and of the creation of Man as in Genesis of the Old Testament.

Allah’s Creation of Adam (Man):

Quran chapter and verse:
[2.21] O men! serve your Lord Who created you and those before you so that you may guard (against evil).
[2.22] Who made the earth a resting place for you and the heaven a canopy and (Who) sends down rain from the cloud then brings forth with it subsistence for you of the fruits; therefore do not set up rivals to Allah while you know.
[2.23] And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.
[2.24] But if you do (it) not and never shall you do (it), then be on your guard against the fire of which men and stones are the fuel; it is prepared for the unbelievers.
[2.25] And convey good news to those who believe and do good deeds, that they shall have gardens in which rivers flow; whenever they shall be given a portion of the fruit thereof, they shall say: This is what was given to us before; and they shall be given the like of it, and they shall have pure mates in them, and in them, they shall abide.
[2.26] Surely Allah is not ashamed to set forth any parable– (that of) a gnat or any thing above that; then as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord, and as for those who disbelieve, they say: What is it that Allah means by this parable: He causes many to err by it and many He leads aright by it! but He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors,
[2.27] Who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and make mischief in the land; these it is that are the losers.
[2.28]* How do you deny Allah and you were dead and He gave you life? Again He will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him.
[2.29]* He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth, and He directed Himself to the heaven, so He made them complete seven heavens, and He knows all things.
[2.30]* And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the earth a khalif, they said: What! wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? He said: Surely I know what you do not know.
[2.31]* And He taught Adam all the names, then presented them to the angels; then He said: Tell me the names of those if you are right.
[2.32]* They said: Glory be to Thee! we have no knowledge but that which Thou hast taught us; surely Thou art the Knowing, the Wise.
[2.33]* He said: O Adam! inform them of their names. Then when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not say to you that I surely know what is ghaib in the heavens and the earth and (that) I know what you manifest and what you hide?
[2.34]* And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam they did obeisance, but Iblis (did it not). He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers.
[2.35]* And We said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the garden and eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish and do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust.
[2.36]* But the Shaitan made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: Get forth, some of you being the enemies of others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time.
[2.37]* Then Adam received (some) words from his Lord, so He turned to him mercifully; surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.
[2.38]* We said: Go forth from this (state) all; so surely there will come to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.
[2.39]* And (as to) those who disbelieve in and reject My communications, they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.
[2.40] O children of Israel! call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me, I will fulfill (My) covenant with you; and of Me, Me alone, should you be afraid.
[2.41] And believe in what I have revealed, verifying that which is with you, and be not the first to deny it, neither take a mean price in exchange for My communications; and Me, Me alone should you fear.
[2.42] And do not mix up the truth with the falsehood, nor hide the truth while you know (it).
[2.43] And keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and bow down with those who bow down.
[2.44] What! do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls while you read the Book; have you then no sense?
[2.45] And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones,
[2.46] Who know that they shall meet their Lord and that they shall return to Him.[8]

Qur’an:[3.59] Surely the likeness of Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was.

And from the Bukhari:

Sunni Hadith:

Abi Musa al Sha’arai narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said: “Allah created Adam from a handful of dust taken from different lands, so the children of Adam have been created according to the composition of the land. Therefore from mankind we have white, red, black and yellow ones; we have good and evil, ease and sorrow, and what comes in between them.”
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said: “Allah created Adam from dust after He mixed the clay and left him for some time until it became sticky mud, after which Allah shaped him. After that Allah left him till it became like potter’s clay. Iblis used to go past him saying ‘You have been created for a great purpose.’ After that Allah breathed His spirit into him. The first thing into which the spirit passed was his eye and then his nose. He sneezed. Allah said: “May your Lord have mercy upon you, O Adam! Go to those angels and see what they would say.’ So Adam went and greeted them. they replied saying: “Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of Allah.” Allah said: “O Adam! This is your greeting and that of your offspring.”

Adam takes a prominent role in Islamic traditions concerning the fall of Satan. In these, when God announces his intention of creating Adam, some of the angels express dismay, asking why God would create a being that would do evil. God Teaches Adam the names reassures the angels as to Adam’s abilities وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلائِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنْبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ هَؤُلاء إِنْ كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ) .. dispute which particular names were involved; various theories say they were the names of all things animate and inanimate, the names of the angels, the names of his own descendants, or the names of Allah. Others believe he was given the gift of speech to separate himself from all other animals.

In the Muslim tradition, Satan, is regarded as a djinn made out of fire, rather than an angel made out of light. This supports the Islamic notion of angels being creations that would not be accountable since they lack free will. When God commands the angels to bow to Adam, Satan is also present and refuses due to his pride, and is summarily banished from the heavens. Liberal movements within Islam have viewed Allah’s commanding the angels to bow before Adam as an exaltation of humanity, and as a means of supporting  human rights.

Al-Qummi records the opinion that Eden was not on earth but in heaven. After disobeying God, God sends Adam and Eve to earth, arriving first at mountain peaks outside Mecca; Adam on Safa, and Eve on Marwa. In this account, Adam remained weeping for 40 days, until he repented, at which point God rewarded him by sending down theKaaba because the article about Kaaba says that it was built by Ibrahim (Abraham)], and teaching him the hajj. The Quran does not mention Adam’s weeping but it does mention the forgiveness he was granted.

The Qur’an also describes the two sons of Adam (named Qabil and Habil in Islamic tradition, but not mentioned by name in the Qur’an) that correspond to Cain and Abel. [8] [9] [10]

The correlation of the Islamic versions of “the creation of the world” and “the creation of Man” with that of the Jewish version in Genesis is without doubt from the same source. The similarity is indisputable. Genesis was the only authentic source of the history of man and the creation of the world as known to the people at the time of Moses (1393 BC- 1272 BC), and to that of the Prophet Mohammed (ca. 570-632 AD, thus in order to provide antiquity and authenticity it was obvious for Islamic scholars to establish roots to Moses, and to Abraham, and thence to Adam and Eve as that was the accepted vision or Creativity of God for the past 20 centuries before Mohammadism.  Even then, those early philosophers had extended their insights of the creation of the Universe and of Man to the furthest limits of their visions. This vision and perception remained valid for thousands of years. It was on this basis that their vision of God/Allah was percieved, i.e. the vision and wisdom of Moses who was responsible for his Visions and Genesis and the Old Testament.

I postulate that God was created from the vision and wisdom of Moses but with all his limitations of a man on earth. All three of the Abrahamic faiths have thus accepted this same perception of “God’s Creation.” Moses described the creativity of God as he saw it in the 13th century BC. It was accepted and adopted by the Jews, followed by the ministry of Jesus, and later adopted by Mohammadism in the 7th century AD. And this concept was accepted literally and adopted by all the Abrahamic faiths without question until a new concept evolved in the 19th century when Charles Darwin published his paper on evolution in the 19th century. The concept of “Creativity” by God survived, unchallenged for 32 centuries (3200 years) because there was no cause to question it as men were limited by man’s lack of understanding of science such as carbon dating, or radio dating, or the science of archeology, or cosmology.

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

lCharles Darwin (1809-1882), a biologist wrote an essay between 1842 and 1844 about his theories on the evolution of the species. But his doubts about his theories of evolution were dispelled when he received an essay from Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) who made similar observations while working in the Malay Archipelago in 1858. Both of them presented their ideas at a scientific meeting but received an unexcited response. Darwin finally presented his book, “The Origin of Species” in 1859 and this was immediately sold out on the first day. Darwin’s theory of the natural selection was the mechanism of evolution revolutionised scientific thinking ever since. [12]

The Anthropology of Homo Sapiens

Man, being inquisitive by nature were interested where they came from. But during the time of Moses (13th Century BC,) without the tools of science like archeology, anthropology, genetics, physics, cosmology, space technology, their visions were limited. So for Moses to visualise that God created the World around 3760 BC followed by the creation of Adam and Eve which was some 2400 years before his own birth, was an insight beyond comprehension. No one since then has proposed anything different until Charles Darwin some 5619 years after the creation of Moses’ theory of Creativity came up with his new theories. It has taken that long for “Evolutionary Theories” to emerge.

Today, many scientists and others have accepted the evidence produced by anthropologists that “modern man” can be traced back to 200,000 years to 250,000 years ago. However, such researchers as Milford Wolpoff considers that the human species can be traced back as far as about 2 Million years ago, subsuming H.erectus, H. ergasterm and H. hiedelbergensis. [13]

There is an even different view from China”
“…despite the seemingly conclusive genetic evidence, Professor Wu Xinzhi insists the debate between “single-region evolution” and “multi-region evolution.” is not settled. He maintains that Africa is not the only origin of modern humans, but that modern man evolved separately in several parts of the world. He believes there is ample evidence that at least some of the ancestors of modern Chinese were native to the area.

From the 1920’s on, archeologists discovered large numbers of ancient human fossils in China. According to Professor Wu, different populations of ancient humans lived in overlapping periods. Yuanmou Man in Yunnan Province dates back 1,700,000 years, Shaanxi Lantian Man 1,150,000 to 600,000 years, Peking Man 500,000 to 200,000 years, Shandong Yiyuan man 400,000 years, Anhui Hexian 300,000 to 200,000 years and Guangdong Maba Man 100,000 years.” [14]

The Big Bang Theory of the Universe
The legacy of “man’s curiosity” has set him aside from all other creatures on earth and has brought him to where he is today. In the pre-historic , pre-writing, pre-science period, men like Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad could only look up to the heavens and seek inspiration from the angels or the voice of God. It was customary for people of that era, for wise men and sages to bring messages from Heaven to his people who would then hand these messages to their descendants for generations to come by word of mouth. The revelations of Moses, who saw the flaming bush on Mount Sinai and received messages through the angel  from God in 1314 BC has survived to this day, 3324 years later. These revelations are contained in Genesis and the other texts in the Old Testament.

With God’s benevolence and guidance, man has made great strides in his understanding of science and his perception of “time and space and genetics” have brought new dimensions for human understanding of creation.

Man has yet to adjust to the discoveries made by science through man’s curiosities. Dedicated and persistent anthropologists and scientists have over many, many years developed techniques of dating archeological finds that extend thousands, even millions of years into the existence of early man. Added to this, the breaking of the human genetic code provides further evidence of the connectivity of these finds and ascertains evidence to support the evolutionary theories. Thus the human time-scale was suddenly extended beyond the imagination of our early philosophers and sages like Lord Krishna (Hinduism), or Lao Tzu (Taoism), or Confucius, or Guatama Siddhartha (Buddhism), or Moses (Judaism), or Jesus (Christianity), or Mohammad (Islam). The understanding of modern genetics, with all its variations and permutations will put to rest many of the myths and prejudices practised for thousands of years out of ignorance.

Furthermore, other modern scientists like Charles Darwin (“The Origin of the Species,”) Albert Einstein (Theory of Relativity,) Stephen Hawking (Singularity Theorem,) or Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) with his “Hubble Laws” in 1929 when he postulated that the Universe was once compact, and that it had been expanding ever since the “Big Bang” have introduced dimensions that could not even have been visualised by our early philosophers. The adjustments to these new dimensions are so great that even our greatest theologians, philosophers, and modern scientific thinkers cannot come up with an acceptable consensus.[15]

The Age of the Universe: 15 Billion Years
The equation generally used to show the age of the Universe is shown here:
(distance of a particular galaxy)/(that Galaxy’s velocity) = (time)  or
4.6 x 10^26 cm/1×10^9 cm/sec = 4.6 x 10^ 17 sec
This equation, equalling 4.6 x 10^ 17 seconds =
“approximately fifteen billion years.”
This calculation is almost exactly the same for every galaxy that can be studied. However, because of the uncertainties of the measurements produced by these equations, only a rough estimate of the true age of the universe can be fashioned. While finding the age of the universe is a complicated process, the achievements of this knowledge represents a critical step in our understanding.  [16]

Stephen Hawking

Hawking in one of the greatest living scientists of our time. He is a physicists, and cosmologist and wrote his famous book, “A Brief History of Time” published 1988 [19]. However, in conjunction with equally prominent scientists, Roger Penrose and George Ellis, they produced a book postulating the “Singularity Theorem” in 1968-1970. In 1974, on his own Hawking wrote, “Hawking Radiation.”

Hawking & God

Isabel Hawking, his mother, who was a member of the communist party in England in the 1930’s had the greatest influence on Stephen’s life. And Stephen carried this intellectual baggage all his life. When Stephen was 13 years of age he hero worshipped  Bertrand Russell, a gifted mathematician and an “atheist philosopher.” But the most important and the most influential person in the rest of his life was when he met Jane Wilde, in December 31st,  1962 who was to become his wife and life-long partner. One month after this meeting he was diagnosed with ALS, “amyotrophic lateral schlerosis,” and was given 2 years to live. The author Dr. Fritz Schaefer has known three person with this disease and all of them died after, 2, 3 and 5 years respectively. At the time of this writing Stephen has survived 32 years. A medical miracle.
It was through Jane that helped Stephen get out of his depressions and gave him the  belief and incentive and the drive to believe in himself and his work. It was Jane’s love, devotion, and belief in him that changed his life. Without Jane’s devotion, Stephen would certainly not have had the strength or the will to live and carry on.
They married in July 1965 and Stephen said, “What really made a difference was that I got engaged to a woman called Jane Wilde. This gave me something to live for.”

Jane Hawking sought intellectual interests in a field far removed from that of her husbands. Her PhD was in “Medieval Portuguese Literature.” But Jane Hawking was a Christian and she said this in 1986, “Without my faith in God, I wouldn’t have been able to live in this situation,” (namely, the deteriorating health of her husband.) “I would not have been able to marry Stephen in the first place because I wouldn’t have had the optimism to carry me through and I wouldn’t have been able to carry with it.” So it was her faith and trust in God that gave her the strength to give Stephen the support he needed; that carried Stephen through all these years. So indirectly, although Stephen was an agnostic, it was the indirect strength of God that carried him through his illness.

The importance of this narrative is the role of God in this complicated scenario of  Stephen’s Christian wife, and a physicist cosmologist’s beliefs and the concept creativity. The role of God  among most of these cosmologists, has never been ruled out by these imminent scientists. [18][19][20]

In Search of God

Obviously, there is a wide divergence of facts and in the timeline between that of Creativity and that of Evolution as shown. But many physicists and cosmologists do not make this an issue for many scientists believe that there is no real conflict between the concept of Creativity and that of Evolution. Let us examine some of these views.

Does evolution disprove the Bible?

That depends on how you interpret the Bible. If you take the Biblical account of creation as literally true scientific fact, then yes, evolution contradicts the Bible (it’s up to the individual to decide which is disproved). But if you interpret the Bible as allegorical, as a product of human scribes, or as exclusively a work of theology, then evolution and the Bible can peacefully coexist. [21]
Naturally the controversy of Evolution and Creation has a great bearing on the Church and the views of the various Popes vary in this regard. [22]

Pope John Paul II Embraces Evolution

“In a major statement of the Roman Catholic Church’s position on the theory of evolution, Pope John Paul II has proclaimed that the theory is ‘more than just a hypothesis’ and that evolution is compatible with Christian faith. In a written message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the pope said the theory of evolution has been buttressed by scientific studies and discoveries since Charles Darwin … “It is indeed remarkable that this theory has progressively taken root in the minds of researchers following a series of discoveries made in different spheres of knowledge’, the pope said in his message Wednesday. ‘The convergence, neither sought nor provoked, of results of studies undertaken independently from each other constitutes, in itself, a significant argument in favor of this theory…”

“If taken literally, the Biblical view of the beginning of life and Darwin’s scientific view would seem irreconcilable. In Genesis, the creation of the world, and Adam, the first human, took six days. Evolution’s process of genetic mutation and natural selection-the survival and proliferation of the fittest new species-has taken billions of years, according to scientists …”

“The Pope’s message went much further in accepting the theory of evolution as a valid explanation of the development of life on Earth, with one major exception: the human soul. ‘If the human body has its origin in living material which preexists it, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God’, the Pope said.”

I do not intend to treat this subject from the aspect of scientific debate, for writers with much greater scientific expertise than I will effectively write about this story from that angle. Rather, I wish to simply point out two succinct facts about this ludicrous statement:

  • 1) In this statement, the Pope contradicts the current religious teaching of his own Roman Catholic Church!! In the latest “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, published in 1994, we read this teaching on Creation, “Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last, the beginning and the end of everything. The Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the Creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works.”1 While this teaching does not actually say, “God Created”, it certainly leaves that unmistakable impression because of the context in speaking of God the Father. However, all doubt about what their teaching is, concerning the beginning of the universe, is removed later, under “Paragraph 4.

  • The Creator”, when they say, “Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end of which ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’: from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ.”2

Then, a little later on, we read, “God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity, and order.”3 Teachings about God creating the universe are repeated in many other places, and in many other contexts, in this newest of the Catechisms. There is no doubt about what the Catholic Church teaches about the beginnings of this world: God created the Heavens and the Earth! [23]

Pope Benedict XVI urges caution on Evolution

BERLIN — Benedict XVI, in his first extended reflections on evolution published as pope, says that Darwin’s theory cannot be finally proven and that science has unnecessarily narrowed humanity’s view of creation.

In a new book, Creation and Evolution, published Wednesday in German, the pope praised progress gained by science, but cautioned that evolution raises philosophical questions science alone cannot answer.

“The question is not to either make a decision for a creationism that fundamentally excludes science, or for an evolutionary theory that covers over its own gaps and does not want to see the questions that reach beyond the methodological possibilities of natural science,” the pope said.

HERALD TRIBUNE: Pope Benedict and his ex-students holding seminar on evolution

He stopped short of endorsing intelligent design, but said scientific and philosophical reason must work together in a way that does not exclude faith.

“I find it important to underline that the theory of evolution implies questions that must be assigned to philosophy and which themselves lead beyond the realms of science,” the pope was quoted as saying in the book, which records a meeting with fellow theologians the pope has known for years.

In the book, Benedict reflected on a 1996 comment of his predecessor, John Paul II, who said that Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution were sound, as long as they took into account that creation was the work of God, and that Darwin’s theory of evolution was “more than a hypothesis.”

“The pope (John Paul) had his reasons for saying this,” Benedict said. “But it is also true that the theory of evolution is not a complete, scientifically proven theory.”

Benedict added that the immense time span that evolution covers made it impossible to conduct experiments in a controlled environment to finally verify or disprove the theory.

“We cannot haul 10,000 generations into the laboratory,” he said. [24]

The Archbishop of Canterbury back Evolution

The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the teaching of creationism in schools. In an interview with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, Dr Rowan Williams said the Biblical creation stories do not belong in the same category as evolutionary theory.

He explained: “My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it.” Creationists and proponents of intelligent design (ID) – the “alternative theory” to evolution by natural selection – assert that the natural world must have had a designer. [25]

Jewish Views on Evolution

Classical rabbinic teachings

The vast majority of classical Rabbis hold that God created the world close to 6,000 years ago, and created Adam and Eve from Clay. This view is based on a chronology developed in a midrash, Seder Olam, which was based on a “literal reading” of the Book of Genesis. It is attributed to the Tanna Yose ben Halafta, and covers history from the creation of the universe to the construction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Although it is known that a literal approach is not always needed when interpreting the Torah, there is a split over which parts are literal.

Most “modern” rabbis believe that the world is older, and that life as we know it today did not always exist. They believe such a view is needed to accept well-supported scientific theories, such as the “theory of evolution. Rabbis who had this view based their conclusions on verses in the Tulmud or in the midrash

. For example:

  • Talmud Chaggiga 13b-14a states that there were 974 generations before God created Adam.

  • The Midrash says: God created many worlds but was not satisfied, and left the world he was satisfied with.

  • Rabbi Moshe Ben Nacman (1194 – 1270) writes: In the first day God crated the energy (כח) “matter” (יולי) of all things, and then he was finished with the main creation. After that God crated all other things from that energy.

  • Some midrashim state that the “first week” of Creation lasted for extremely long periods of time. See Anafim on Rabbenu Bachya’s Sefer Ikkarim 2:18; Midrash Bereshit Rabbah 9.

  • In Psalms it says “A thousand years is like a day in Your sight” (Psalm 90:4) [26]

Modern day Conservative Jewish views

Conservative Judaism embraces science as a way to learn about God’s creation, and like Orthodox and Reform Judaism, has found the theory of evolution a challenge to traditional Jewish theology. The Conservative Jewish movement has not yet developed one official response to the subject, but a broad array of views has converged. Conservative Jews teach that God created the universe and is responsible for the creation of life within it, but proclaims no mandatory teachings about how this occurs at any level.

Many Conservative Rabbis embrace the term theistic evolution, and most reject the term intelligent design. Conservative rabbis who use the term intelligent design in their sermons often distinguish their views from the Christian fundamentalist use of this term. Like most in the scientific community, they understand “intelligent design” to be a technique by fundamentalist Christians to insert religion into public schools and to attack science, as admitted in the Intelligent Design movement’s wedge strategy position papers.

In contrast to fundamentalist views, Conservative Judaism strongly supports the use of science as the proper way to learn about the physical world in which we live, and thus encourages its adherents to find a way to understand evolution in a way that does not contradict the findings of peer-reviewed scientific research. The tension between accepting God’s role in the world and the findings of science, however, is not resolved, and a wide array of views exists. Some mainstream examples of Conservative Jewish thought are as follows:

Professor Ismar Schorsch, former chancellor of the Jewish theological Seminary of America,  writes that:

The Torah’s story of creation is not intended as a scientific treatise, worthy of equal time with Darwin’s theory of evolution in the curriculum of our public schools. The notes it strikes in its sparse and majestic narrative offer us an orientation to the Torah’s entire religious worldview and value system. Creation is taken up first not because the subject has chronological priority but rather to ground basic religious beliefs in the very nature of things. And I would argue that their power is quite independent of the scientific context in which they were first enunciated.

Rabbi David J Fine, who has authorised official responses for the Conservative movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, expresses a common Conservative Jewish view on the subject:

Conservative Judaism has always been premised on the total embrace of critical inquiry and science. More than being compatible with Conservative Judaism, I would say that it is a mitzvah to learn about the world and the way it works to the best of our abilities, since that is to marvel with awe at God’s handiwork. To not do so is sinful.But here’s where the real question lies. Did God create the world, or not? Is it God’s handiwork? Many of the people who accept evolution, even many scientists, believe in what is called “theistic evolution,” that is, that behind the billions of years of cosmic and biological evolution, there is room for belief in a creator, God, who set everything into motion, and who stands outside the universe as the cause and reason for life. The difference between that and “intelligent design” is subtle yet significant. Believing scientists claim that belief in God is not incompatible with studying evolution since science looks only for the natural explanations for phenomena. The proponents of intelligent design, on the other hand, deny the ability to explain life on earth through solely natural explanations. That difference, while subtle, is determinative.David J. Fine, Intelligent Design

Rabbi Michael Schwab writes:

…the Jewish view on the first set of questions is much closer to the picture painted by adherents to intelligent design than to those who are strict Darwinians. Judaism, as a religion, and certainly Conservative Judaism, sees creation as a purposeful process directed by God, however each individual defines the Divine. This is clearly in consonance with the theory of Intelligent Design. What Darwin sees as random, we see as the miraculous and natural unfolding of God’s subtle and beautiful plan….However, as unlikely as it may seem, this does not mean for one moment that Judaism’s view rejects wholesale the veracity of Darwin’s theory. In fact, I believe that it is easy to incorporate Darwin and Intelligent design into a meaningful conception of how we humans came into being…We have frameworks built into our system to integrate the findings of science into our religious and theological beliefs. That is because we believe that the natural world, and the way it works, was created by God and therefore its workings must be consistent with our religious beliefs….One of the most well known ways our tradition has been able to hold onto both the scientific theory of evolution as well as the concept of a purposeful creation was by reading the creation story in Genesis in a more allegorical sense. One famous medieval commentary proclaims that the days of creation, as outlined in the book of Bereshit, could be seen as representative of the stages of creation and not literal 24 hour periods. Thus each Biblical day could have accounted for thousands or even millions of years. In that way the progression according to both evolution and the Torah remains essentially the same: first the elements were created, then the waters, the plants, the animals, and finally us. Therefore, Genesis and Darwin can both be right in a factual analysis even while we acknowledge that our attitudes towards these shared facts are shaped much more strongly by the Torah – we agree how the process unfolded but disagree that it was random.Parshat Noah — November 4, 2005, How Did We Get Here? Michael Schwab

The claim that evolution is purposeful is in conflict with modern day evolutionary theory. The precise way in which God inserts design is not specified by Schwab or other rabbis.

Rabbi Lawrence Troster is a critic of positions such as this. He holds that much of Judaism (and other religions) have not successfully created a theology which allows for the role of God in the world and yet is also fully compatible with modern day evolutionary theory. Troster maintains that the solution to resolving the tension between classical theology and modern science can be found in process theology, such as in the writings of Hans Jonas, whose view of an evolving God within process philosophy contains no inherent contradictions between theism and scientific naturalism.

Lecture God after Darwin: Evolution and the Order of Creation October 21, 2004, Lishmah, New York City, Larry Troster

In a paper on Judaism and environmentalism,  Troster writes:

Jonas is the only Jewish philosopher who has fully integrated philosophy, science, theology and environmental ethics. He maintained that humans have a special place in Creation, manifest in the concept that humans are created in the image of God. His philosophy is very similar to that of Alfred North Whitehead, who believed that God is not static but dynamic, in a continual process of becoming as the universe evolves.From Apologetics to New Spirituality: Trends in Jewish Environmental Theology, Lawrence Troster

Jewish opposition to Darwinian Theory

“Whilst the Reform, Conservative and Modern Orthodox movements have stated that they feel there isn’t a conflict between evolutionary theory and the teachings of Judaism, some Haredi rabbis have remained staunchly opposed to certain teachings in evolutionary theory. In contrast with the literalist biblical interpretations of Genesis, through Jewish oral tradition and Jewish mysticism. They have also expressed an openness to evolutionary theory in biology, except where they perceive that it is in conflict with the Torah’s account of creation.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the last rabbi of the worldwide movement of Lubavticher or Chaban Hasidism, was avidly opposed to evolution, and his tremendous following remains largely committed to hat position, though individual Chabad Hasidim may hold different views.

Rabbi Avi Shafran, a spokesman for Agudath Iisrael, writes a weekly column that is widely syndicated in the Jewish press. As an opponent of Darwinian evolutionary theory, Shafran is careful to distinguish the Jewish perspective from that of Christian fundamentalism. He writes, “An unfortunate side-effect of our affirmation of purpose in creation at a time of controversy is the assumption made by some that we believing Jews share some other groups’ broader scepticism of science. But while Torah-faithful Jews reject the blind worship of science, we do not regard science as an enemy.” Quite the contrary, Shafram remarks, Judaism seeks to learn as much as possible from God’s creation.

Shafran also rejects the literalism of Christian fundamentalism. He writes,

“Nor is ‘Biblical literalism’ a Jewish approach. Many are thep’sukim (verses) that do not mean what a simple reading would yield.”

To Shafran, the Jewish oral tradition is the key to the true meaning of the Torah’s words.

“There are multiple levels of deeper meanings inaccessible to most of us. The words of Breishis (Genesis, Ashkenazi Hebrew) and the Midrashim thereon hide infinitely more than they reveal. It is clear that the Torah describes the creation of the universe as the willful act of HaKodosh Boruch Hr (the Holy One), and describes creation as having unfolded in stages. But details are hardly provided.” [26]

ISLAMIC VIEWS ON EVOLUTION

“According to Abdul Majid, a professor of zoology in Pakistan, there are three strands of Islamic thought aboutevolution:

“(1)outright rejection, (2) total acceptance and (3) partial acceptance.”

However, the popular Muslim website, “IslamOnLine,” espouses a strongly rejectionist view:

It’s a plain fact that what the Darwin theory wants to prove runs in sharp contrast to the divine teachings of Islam, and even to all the teachings of all heavenly revealed religion…The claim that man has evolved from a non-human species is unbelief, even if we ascribe the process to Allah or to ‘nature,’ because it negates the truth of Adam’s special creation that Allah has revealed in the Qur’an.

So far, there has been little orchestrated creationist activism by Muslims of the kind seen among Christians in the United States, though there have been a few isolated incidents. A science lerturer at Khartoum University was reported arrested and beaten up because of the content of his courses and in 2006 Muslim medical students at the prestigious Guys Hospital in London distributed leaflets opposing Darwinism as a part of the activities for Islam Awareness Week. One member of the hospital’s staff was quoted as saying he found it deeply worrying that Darwin was being dismissed by people who would soon be practising as doctors.” [27]

“The Koran and evolution

With the increased adoption of evolution-based curricula, some Muslim leaders and scholars began to recognise the threat to Islam from a rising tide of evolutionary thinking. Their response has been to attack evolution, or more commonly, to blend it with Islam.

The Islamic Creationists

The creationist Muslims claim that, “The theory of evolution” and the holy Qur’an are in direct conflict with each other and no compatibility is possible anywhere. New Scientist reported that Islamic creationist books cite and copy Christian creationists, but with Biblical references deleted.

The Islamic Evolutionists

Evolution believing Muslims seem to be far more numerous, and vocal, than creationist Muslims.They have a substantial strategic advantage precisely because the Koran is so vague, nebulous and seemingly open to various interpretations. They delight in pointing out that, in contrast, “There is absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever in the Biblical description of the Creation in six days followed by a day of rest, the sabbath, analogous with the days of the week. These evolution accommodating Muslims are adamant that the “days of Creation in the Koran ‘mean in reality “very long Periods, or Ages, or Aeons”?Muslim apologists gleefully point out that the Koran is compatible with evolution where the Bible is not, e.g. “Neither here nor anywhere else in the Holy Qur’an is it affirmed that Adam was the first man, here nor anywhere else in the Holy Qur’an is it affirmed that Adam was the first man, or that there was no creation by God (Allah) before Adam, nor that Adam lived or man was created, or the earth made, only six thousand years ago. Long age Muslims exploit the Bible’s explicit detail of the Flood too. They say that because the Bible clearly says there was a recent global Flood, while science says there was not, the Bible is wrong and the Koran is thus confirmed to be right! Some of the Muslim literature even claims that the Koran shows that Allah revealed to Muhammad details about the big bang, ancient universe and evolution long before scientists began to discover such facts.” [28]

Muslim Rejection of Darwinism

“A more direct Muslim strategy has been to popularise an Islamic version of creationism. In this regard there has been a massive publicity campaign emanating from Adnan Oktar, a Turkish philosopher who writes prolifically under the pen name of Harun Yahya. His books, website7 and DVDs are all very professionally presented and expensively produced. Numerous university scientists and members of the media received copies of his book “Atlas of Creation” as an unsolicited gift in 2007. His works have become very popular in many Muslim communities.

Such creationist propaganda falls on fertile ground. Data from a 2007 sociological survey revealed that only a minority in five Muslim countries agreed that Darwin’s theory of evolution was probably or almost certainly true: 16 percent of Indonesians, 14 percent of Pakistanis, 8 percent of Egyptians, 11 percent of Malaysians and 22 percent of Turks.8 A separate survey on this question (so not strictly comparable) showed that acceptance of evolution was highest  in Japan and Sweden, (around 80%), generally high in Western Europe, (above 60%), rather low in the USA (around 45%) and surprisingly low in Australia (about 55%).9 The billions of dollars Australian taxpayers provide to religious schools may explain this.

The belief in the inerrancy of the Koran has spawned numerous utterly fanciful propositions that the Koran contains all kinds of miraculous scientific predictions that now accord with recent scientific knowledge. That intelligent people can put forward such nonsensical argument is sad testimony of the degree of dysfunction in rational cognitions that the religion can induce. It would seem that a Muslim scientist, to conduct research, has no need of laboratory equipment or academic references. He need only open his Koran. This type of mentality is severely degrading to the progress and well-being of Muslim societies.

The inability of Islam to come to terms with Darwin in the way that Christianity has done is characteristic of the damaging domination of doctrine over scientific knowledge in Islam. The loss of the rational basis for the existence of a creator is the biggest challenge that any religion with creationist foundations must face. Christianity in general (apart from fundamentalist creationists), has faced the challenge by means of a retreat to a presumed compartmentalisation of knowledge. The ability to ignore the contradictions between belief and science then becomes more manageable. The failure of Islam to take this step is indicative of a dogmatism and fundamentalism that has wide social consequences.

Adherence to doctrine and the failure of Islam

The genius of Muhammad as a military general, mainly due to the degree of fervour he was able to instil in his troops, certainly meant that Islam was highly successful at military conquest during the early days of Islam.10  Until about the 12th century, when the “gate of ijtihad”, or door to independent thought, was closed, Muslim society led the world.11 The emphasis on the gender role of women as child-bearers in Islamic society means that Islamic societies are still highly successful in achieving a high population growth rate. These factors are not beneficial attributes in today’s society. The main reason it may be said that Islam has failed, and failed its own believers, is in a humanitarian sense.

Blindness to contradictions inhibits rational thought. Rigid adherence to doctrine, of which the rejection of Darwin is symptomatic, leads to an aversion to scientific method, and a slower rate of technical advancement. In the long term, technical progress is the source of all wealth, increases in living standards and the betterment of human well being. Thus, submission to Islamic doctrine does not just impose limitations on the acceptance of science. It inhibits social and economic progress generally.” [29]

Views of other religious faiths regarding the evolutionary theory varies, but our emphasis here is with the Abrahamic faiths as described in Genesis. [30][31]

Conclusion

This article is not to pass judgement but to place the various views for readers to evaluate. Due to restrictions, I have had to curtail what I write. But each to their own conclusions. It is hoped that this article has highlighted the differences in the concept of “Creationism” and that of “Evolution” and points out the differences in the time scale of these concepts. It is modern science and technology that has made possible the disclosure of these incompatible data  that may change perceptions and the cognisance of the cosmos around us. Whether Creationism and Evolution is compatible is a matter of personal faith. To perceive the Big Bang without a Supreme Being is inconceivable.

References

[1] Timeline Jewish history: http://www.akhlah.com/history_tradition/torah_timeline.php
[2] Adam&Eve the first man created by God: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_and_Eve
[3] Adam&Eve the first man created by Allah: http://www.islamia.com/adam.htm
[4] The Fall of Man (Adam and Eve): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fall_of_Man
[5] Genesis and Moses:http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_wrote_the_book_of_Genesis&alreadyAsked=1&rtitle=Who_wrote_book_of_Geneses
[6] Hypothesis that Moses was responsible for Genesis :http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c021.html
[7] Disputing the origins of Genesis: http://www.british-israel.ca/Genesis.htm
[8] Adam in the Qur’an: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_view_of_Adam
[9] Further references of Adam in the Qur’an: 2:30-30; 3:59; 4:11; 7:11-25; 7:189; 15:26-31; 17:61; 18:50;       20:115-126
[10] The first man Created by Allah: http://www.muslimhiphop.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php?t3725.html
[11] Creation by Allah: http://www.readingislam.com/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&pagename=Zone-English-Discover_Islam/DIELayout&cid=1154235112325#ixzz0egX6kw9d
[12] Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution” http://bioweb.cs.earlham.edu/9-12/evolution/HTML/theory.html

[13] Early Man: http://www.archaeologyinfo.com/homosapiens.htm
[14] Early Man in Chinese Anthropology: http://www.china.org.cn/china/2009-11/24/content_18944317_4.htm
[15] The Big Bang by Edwin Hubble: http://www.big-bang-theory.com/
[16] The Age of our Universe: http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/bigbang.htm
[17] Creation of the World and of Man: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_and_Eve
[18] Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang and God:http://www.globalwebpost.com/farooqm/study_res/hawking/schaefer.html
[19] A Brief History of Time by Stephen W. Hawking:http://www.generationterrorists.com/quotes/abhotswh.html
[20] Stephen Hawking and the Mind of God: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/antony_flew/hawking.html
[21] The Bible is allegorical: http://library.thinkquest.org/C004367/ef3.shtml
[22] Views of the Vatican on Evolution: http://scienticity.net/wiki/Evolution_and_the_Vatican
[23] Pope John Paul II Embraces Evolution: http://www.cuttingedge.org/n1034.html
[24] Pope Benedict Cautious about Evolution: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-04-12-pope-evolution_N.htm
[25] The Archbishop of Canterbury on Evolution: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/21/archbishop_backs_evolution/print.html
[26] Jewish views on Evolution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_evolution
[27] Muslims’ debate about religion and science: http://www.al-bab.com/arab/islam_and_evolution.htm
[28] Islam and Evolution: http://creation.com/the-koran-qur-an-vs-genesis
[29] Islam’s Rejection of Darwinism: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~atheist/MuslimRejectionOfDarwin.htm
[30] Religious Groups views on Evolution: http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=394
[31] World Religions and evolution: http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_denom2.htm
Secondary References:
[SR1] The demise of Mitochondrial Eve: http://www.trueorigin.org/mitochondrialeve01.asp
[SR2] 150,000 years ago:near extinction: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/human/human_evolution/new_batch1.shtml
[SR3] Bible claims the world is flat: http://www.answering-christianity.com/earth_flat.htm
[SR4] The Qur’an says the world is flat: http://uiforum.uaeforum.org/showthread.php?6154-Does-the-Quran-say-the-earth-is-flat/page14
[SR5] Bible Time line: Chronology: http://www.abiblestudy.com/part2.html
[SR6] Tine line Human evolution: http://www.google.com/search?q=Timeline+Human+evolution&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&tbs=tl:1&tbo=u&ei=MTd4S9uHH5n20gTRu6yxCQ&sa=X&oi=timeline_result&ct=title&resnum=15&ved=0CEMQ5wIwDg
[SR7] Oldest Hominid skeletons: Lucy &Ardi: http://www.physorg.com/news173615221.html
[SR8] Hominid Fossils: http://www.archaeologyinfo.com/perspectives004.htm

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