A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part VI): Science in Genesis – Day Five.

Day Five introduces instinct and reason to the universe, and thus establishes the basis for what will become evil, or sin, and eventually the entire concept of crime.

On a reading of Day Five, that may seem like a rather peculiar conclusion to draw, but I would urge the reader to bear with me. It will all become very clear.

But first, we need to address some preliminary issues.

As we have already seen, new scientific discoveries and theories are constantly confirming the Genesis account of the origins of the universe and life, and in that respect Day Five is no different.

It begins with these words:

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” [Genesis 1: 20]

The first thing we need to address is what is meant by “the waters”.

Genesis tells us that at the end of the six days there was still no water on the Earth, at least not water in liquid form, because “God had not caused it to rain upon the earth ...” [Genesis 2: 5]

So “the waters” must be symbolic.

In the first three “days”, Genesis uses the word “waters” to describe the life-giving properties of matter during its various stages of transformation. Furthermore, Day Three is clearly an account of the creation of primitive DNA structures that act as a blueprint for life that was to follow. As Philo says, this primitive DNA reflected “incorporeal ideas perceptible only by the intellect, which have been appointed to be as seals of the perfected works, perceptible by the outward senses.[1]

Nothing happened in Day Four that altered the basic structure of matter and energy as at the end of Day Three.

So it would be entirely consistent with the use of the word “waters” throughout Genesis Chapter 1, that “the waters” in Day Five refer to the primitive DNA which had “seeded” the matter making up the early Earth and its atmosphere. In other words, “the waters” refer to all the elements that had formed together into the mass of matter that was becoming the Earth, as well as the primitive DNA structures that were created in whatever supernova was responsible for our galaxy.

The next thing to note in this verse is how God is said to have initiated the process of creating the more advanced life. It says this: “And God said, LET THE WATERS BRING FORTH …

That wording is the same as Day Three, except Day Three says “Let the earth bring forth …” [Genesis 1: 11]. Day Six uses the same wording as Day Three – “And God said, Let the earth bring forth …” [Genesis 1: 24]

This wording, in which an ‘instruction’ is given for something else (earth or waters) to take the next step in ‘creation’, applies only when life in some form is said to be created (the exception being the creation of “man”). That is different to the account of the ‘creation’ of other things where God is not said to use something already existing as a medium for the next step in creation. When the creation of life is not involved, we find the words “And God said, Let there be …

The distinction is clear. When the account relates to the transformation of the quantum laws to the Classical laws of physics, the wording implies a direct intervention. In contrast, when the account relates to a transformation of inanimate matter into life, and primitive life into more advanced life, the structure of matter itself is said to have done the ‘heavy lifting’.

This distinct description of the creation of life is entirely consistent with new scientific understanding of the origin of life.

In the Update to my article on Day Three I made reference to new research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The research is being done by the physicist Jeremy English, and was reported in Quanta Magazine. Essentially, English devised a “mathematical formula” which he believes shows that when “a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.” Although it should not distract us here, the theory is based on the second law of thermodynamics.

The reason I referred to this research in my Update to Day Three is that it is most relevant to the initial creation of DNA described in my article on Day Three.

However, it is also relevant to Day Five, because the process of creating the initial basic structures of life also applies to the initial basic DNA restructuring itself into more advanced life. And as the reference makes clear, the “heat source” and the “heat bath” that initiate and propagate the process don’t have to be the Earth as we know it today. As long as the “source” and the “bath” are susceptible to the second law of thermodynamics operating, then the process must be able to take place. And as we saw in the article on Day Three, there is clear evidence that such processes take place right across the universe where the conditions are right.

Although English claims the process is inevitable as a “simple matter of probability”, it may not be as simple as that. The reason that particles and atoms behave in a certain way is that they have the necessary properties to do so. That is, they are ‘programmed’ to behave in certain ways in certain environments. But more remarkably, living structures in the form of DNA appear to ‘know’ in advance what sort of environment they will encounter in the future. And we find evidence of that in research on the human genome.

An article by Michael Hanlon in the Telegraph of London in 2012 reported that The Encode Project, a multinational 5 year study to analyze the 98% of human DNA that does not constitute a protein-creating gene (classified previously as Junk DNA), has now discovered that “this DNA is not junk at all … [and] … that as much as a fifth [of it] is instead made up of “switches” – bits of DNA that turn some genes on and others off.”[2] As Hanlon notes, human beings are “not much more well endowed genetically than a fruit fly or even a lump of yeast.”

However, he goes on to say that “… the more we learn about our genome, the more complex it becomes. We have genes that tell our bodies to make proteins, genes that affect other genes, genes that are influenced by the environment, segments of DNA that switch certain genes on and off, as well as RNA, the still-not-fully understood messenger molecule that conveys information from our DNA to protein factories in cells.” And furthermore, DNA also “consists of ‘pseudogenes’ – non-functioning copies of active genes that form the raw material for evolution’ – sort of ‘reserve genes’ waiting to be switched on.

Although the Encode Project was looking at human DNA, the same principles apply to animal DNA. This shows that DNA is somehow ‘programmed’ to ‘know’ what it will encounter in the future, and prepares the mechanisms to respond to those eventualities.

Whether the ‘reserve genes’ are ‘pre-programmed’ to develop certain characteristics as they encounter certain environments, or whether DNA somehow ‘knows’ how, and with what, those ‘reserve genes’ need to be programmed when certain environments are encountered, is not important. Either way, DNA seems to ‘know’ which switches to operate in order to activate (or ‘program’) the ‘reserve genes’ necessary to respond to the different environments it appears to ‘know’ it will encounter at some point in the future.

That accords perfectly with what we noted about the words “And God said …” in the article on Day Four. Those words have been consistently used to represent a manipulation of probabilities with the objective of creating a desired result.

Day Five is telling us that the primitive DNA structures that had “seeded” the early Earth underwent a modification that enabled them to respond to the future environment they were soon to encounter. And that environment would be planet Earth in a form more similar to the one we see today; a planet with liquid water, and a life-supporting atmosphere. The primitive DNA was being ‘programmed’ to respond to its intended future environment. Like the particles in the delayed-choice experiments, we could say that “it’s as though the [primitive DNA had] a ‘premonition’ of the [future Earth] they [would] encounter farther downstream, and [were adjusting] accordingly.[3] Genesis is telling us that the primitive DNA ‘knew’ what was coming, and adapted itself accordingly.

So “the waters” have a kind of double meaning: they refer to the properties of primitive DNA that were being ‘programmed’ to develop into more advanced life once they encountered liquid water; and it means that the first ‘advanced life’ on Earth was destined (or ‘programmed’) to emerge from water, which, of course, it did – so far as we know.

But even so, we should always bear in mind that these chemical reactions, which underlie the creation and functioning of DNA, are a consequence of the principles that determine the behavior of fundamental particles. As Steven Weinberg says, “We believe that atoms behave the way they do in chemical reactions because the physical PRINCIPLES that govern the electrons and electric forces inside atoms leave NO FREEDOM for the atoms to behave in any other way.[4]

Martin Rees puts it this way: “Mathematical laws underpin the fabric of our universe – not just atoms, but galaxies, stars and people. The properties of atoms … determine the chemistry of our everyday world. … And everything takes place in the arena of an expanding universe, whose properties were imprinted into it at the time of the initial Big Bang.”[5]

The next verse follows the familiar sequence by introducing the second stage of what we could call the quantum effect as seen in the delayed-choice experiments – the ‘intended’ result, as expressed in the ‘instructions’ following the words “And God said …”, are implemented. In this verse, God is said to do those things He previously said should be done.

“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” [Genesis 1: 21]

 Following the usual pattern, the words “And God saw that it was good” lock in, so to speak, the ‘programming’ that had taken place. But in the case of the creation of more advanced life, we have a very significant addition to the normal sequence of events. God is now said to speak to what He had just created:

“And God blessed them, SAYING, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” [Genesis 1:22 – my emphasis on saying]

This is a very significant verse in respect of the issue of evil, and will become even more significant when we contrast it to the words God is said to have spoken to human beings in Day Six. That is why I have emphasized the word “saying”.

The reason is that verse 21 refers to the physical composition of the creatures God is said to create – “whales, and every living creature that moveth  …”; whereas verse 22 clearly refers to the composition of the brain, and how it is ‘programmed’.

In verse 22, God is said to ‘speak’ when He blesses the creatures He has just created. And ‘speaking’ implies a neurological process or activity. But when God is said to bless the creatures, He does not ‘speak to’ them, instead he blesses them “SAYING, …”

By contrast, when God is said to create the “male and female,” we find these words: “And God blessed them, and God SAID UNTO THEM, …

That is an important distinction because there is a very big difference between simply “saying” something and speaking to someone in particular.

We experience this in every-day life. We often simply say something to no one in particular, or even to ourselves. Most people with pets will ‘speak’ to their pets. For example, if we take food out for the dog, we may say something like, ‘there you are, eat that, it will keep your fur shiny.” Of course, we don’t expect that the dog understands what we are ‘saying’, and we certainly do not expect to hold an intelligent conversation with the dog.

Contrast that with what happens when we speak to our children. Even from an early age we speak to our children because we know that they have the capacity to come to understand what we are saying to them. We speak to our children in a very different way to the way we ‘speak’ to our pets. And as the children acquire a capacity to understand and respond, we hold intelligent conversations with them.

In both cases, however, there is an element of ‘reason’ going on. And that is clearly what Genesis is referring to.

In the case of animals, they are being ‘programmed’ with a limited ability to ‘reason’. They learn that when we come out at certain times of the day they will eat. In the wild, that limited ability to ‘reason’ is applied to determine the most likely places to find food, and the most effective way to hunt.

So the use of the word “saying” clearly refers to a ‘programming’ of animals with a limited ability to ‘reason’. And we find that limitation in the next verse, which is key to properly understanding the human condition:

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” [Genesis 1: 22]

Animals are being ‘programmed’ with primitive INSTINCTS – reproductive and survival instincts. In order to “be fruitful and multiply” there must be some mechanism to attract one sex of the species to the other. And in order to sustain their existence, they need to survive; and for that they need to eat. Furthermore, for the species to “multiply”, they also have to ensure the survival of their offspring, so they need a strong instinct to protect their young.

So verse 22 refers to the ‘programming’ of DNA so that animals have basic reproductive and survival instincts, and a limited ability to ‘reason’; and the fact is that animals do have such instincts, and they do have a limited ability to ‘reason’ in order to work out how they can most effectively service those instincts.

That is the meaning of Day Five, and it just happens to be what Jeremy English believes his new theory demonstrates. As he says, “a great way of dissipating more [energy] is to make more copies of yourself.

Conclusion

So Day Five sees the ‘creation’ of DNA that will produce the initial animal life, but only once the Earth had stabilized to an environment containing water and the right atmosphere. Further, the act of God blessing and speaking to the life created symbolizes the ‘programming’ of DNA with primitive instincts, and a limited ability to ‘reason’. The limited ability to ‘reason’ also implies a limited capacity to communicate. And our everyday experience of animals confirms that fact.

As we shall see in the next article, it is this interaction between reason and primitive instinct that forms the basis of what we call evil. In essence, reason in the service of primitive instinct portends to evil.

At this point I should briefly address what is known as Satan. It would be remiss of me not to.

I make no judgment about the existence or otherwise of a malevolent being. The analysis I set out does not require such a being, but neither does it preclude one.

It does not require one because human beings, on the analysis of Genesis, are more than capable of inflicting unspeakable atrocities on each other when their reason is in service of their primitive instincts. And it doesn’t preclude one because, like unscrupulous hackers who make our technological lives hell, if there is such a malevolent being, he could easily tempt us to put our reason in the service of our primitive instincts with the promise of the pleasure, or elimination of fear, that would facilitate.

In the next article we will deal with Day Six – the culmination on the creation story; and the intended final cosmic product – human beings. And more important, it will fully explain the phenomenon good and evil.

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This series of articles is based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God by Joseph BH McMillan.

 A Final Theory of God

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

Notes

[1] Philo, On the Heavens, XLIV – 129.

[2] Michael Hanlon, The Daily Telegraph (London), September 11, 2012.

[3] Adapted from Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos, pages 188 – 189.

[4] Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, pages 9 & 10.

[5] Rees, Just Six Numbers, page 1.

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