24. Why would God create conjoined twins? (Warning, contains graphic content)

While this subject borders on the macabre, I believe that taking an unflinching look at natural extremes can provide us with important insights into how God, or nature, works.

Such unique traits are fascinating because, on the one hand, we see the miracle of creation, but on the other hand, we see that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. Something unexpected has happened, and nature seems unprepared to handle it. And this leads us to ask some interesting questions about the existence of the individual soul, and questions about who, or what, is behind the formation of these bodies.

Dicephalic Parapagus Twins

Let’s start with the inspirational twins Abby and Brittany Helsen. While in the womb, God or nature knitted them together in an amazing patchwork of organs and bones. The way these twins are joined, it smacks of design, almost as if someone carefully crafted their two bodies so that they could continue to operate in this way.

But on the other hand, 75% of conjoined twins fail to survive. So if there is such a craftsman, he’s certainly not very good at designing viable conjoined twins.

From a spiritual standpoint, we look at Abby and Brittany and see two separate spirits, as they clearly both have unique thoughts and personalities. So, as strange as it is to say this, if the spirit exists, it seems to reside inside one’s head. But if this is true… can two spirits share one brain?

Craniofacial Duplication (Diprosopus)

Figure 1

According to a 2002 article in the medical journal Radiology, “The rarest type of conjoined twins… is diprosopus, where a child is born with two faces on one head.”

Diprosopus (which kinda sounds like a dinosaur) may not actually be a conjoined twin at all, but a duplication of the face caused by an excess of the (I kid you not) Sonic Hedgehog protein.

In the case of Figure 1, it was found that some of the brain’s frontal lobes were also duplicated. But having these extra brain bits didn’t seem to translate to having an extra soul or dual personalities.

Figure 2

Indian-born baby Lali (Figure 2) has an even more pronounced second face. She too likely has the same (if not more) duplication of brain matter. But how much brain matter can be duplicated before we’re asking “Is this one person with two faces, or two people sharing one brain?” or “Did God insert one soul or two?”

My guess is that any extra brain matter would become integrated into one singular sense of self. This is hinted at by the fact that baby Lali blinks all four of her eyes simultaneously.

Figure 3

More disturbing is when there is a lack of the Sonic Hedgehog protein, which can cause facial features to lack separation, sometimes resulting in a cyclops (Figure 3).

If there is a designer, why his he allowing such things to happen? Is it necessary to have a certain number of two-headed, two-faced, cyclops babies? Are evil forces at play? Or does nature just sometimes make mistakes?

Synecephalus

Figure 4

Synecephalus (Figure 4) is a very rare type of conjoined twin where the twins share a head and face, but have four ears and two bodies. In other words, there’s little question that these are twins and not one person with duplicate features.

Again, how would God handle the soul in this case? Would he insert one soul knowing that the two minds would become one? Or does he insert two souls, which might result in a two senses of self? Or does he not even bother, knowing that this project is doomed to fail?  (And if it is doomed, why didn’t he end it sooner? Or not create it at all?)

What I find particularly interesting about Figure 4 is how both rib cages come together. These cells continued to assemble themselves, assuming they were in the correct location. While nature may not have noticed that something had gone wrong, an intelligent designer should have, and should’ve terminated the project much earlier.

Craniopagus

Between these extremes are varying levels of craniopagus, where two twins are conjoined at the head. This type of conjoined twin is especially noteworthy because it can result in a partially shared brain.

Take the case of Canadian twins Tatiana and Krista Hogan (Figure 5). These adorable twins, born in 2006, have been the subject of several news stories and documentaries. As they learn to speak, they’re teaching us more about what it means to share part of a brain.

Figure 5

It’s said that Tatiana and Krista share a thalamus, which connects their brain stems, and it appears this allows them to share some brain signals. They have shown many signs of being able to pick up on the other’s sensory input, and they often do things in unison. But each also has her own independent personality.

If these two girls share overlapping brains, do they also share a percentage of a soul? If they each shared half a brain, would they have 1 soul, 1.5 souls or two?

Parasitic Twins

Lastly, and perhaps most disturbing, are parasitic twins.

Unlike conjoined twins, a parasitic twin ceases development during gestation and becomes a partially developed vestigial formation upon the body of the other twin.

Parasitic twins come in random shapes and sizes, and some even become completely entombed inside their twin. The cells of these parasitic twins find a way to survive, even where they were never intended.

One type of parasitic twin is craniopagus parasiticus, where a parasitic head of a twin is attached to the head of another twin.

In craniopagus parasiticus, God or nature doesn’t even bother to give a body to the poor parasitic head, so it has no chance of surviving on its own. Even if the head is conscious, doctors must remove it in order to give the more developed twin any chance at a normal life.

From a spiritual perspective, one wonders if God gives parasitic heads a soul, and why he would allow such a cruel thing to happen to these children and their parents. Why would God force us to kill an infant, so that its twin may survive?

From a naturalist perspective, I can see how a developing parasitical twin might think its needs are already being met, and fail to produce a second body.

The other 75%

But most of the above photos are of survivors. Few of us ever see pictures of the majority of conjoined twin that don’t survive.

Figure 6

Take, for example, the conjoined twins in Figure 6. In this case, the one twin died because its brother was growing directly out of his face, in the form of a garbled mess.

How could a good God knit together something like this in a mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)? Can God even put a soul into a mangled mess without a head? Why allow it if God can’t possibly use it? Or are we just looking at a tragic mistake of unguided nature?

Who, or what, forms our bodies?

There’s no question that life is complex. I find it miraculous that a few cells can multiply and grow into such complex organisms, replete with close-knit bones, organs, muscles, nerves, etc. How does each cell know where to go and what to become? There seems to be some central command orchestrating the entire project. But where is this oversight when it comes to conjoined twins?

These bizarre mergers do not appear to be intentionally malicious. If Satan is behind them, why not just kill them instead of conjoining them? Why combine them in random ways? With random amounts of success and failure?

Nor do these mergers speak to the work of a benevolent God, who is creating something new and magnificent. If God forms them in the womb, why does He fail so badly (Jeremiah 1:5)?

Rather, these mergers appear undirected and unintentional, with each cell going about its own business, trying to integrate itself within the whole. When a cell runs up against something unexpected, like a twin, it latches on and says “Eh, close enough.”

What might we expect if God forms our bodies?

If we are being intelligently designed, we might expect the designer to look upon twins about to conjoin and say “No, no, no, that’s all wrong!” Or at least provide adequate programming so that “Cell A” knows never to merge with “Cell B.”

If God exists, it appears as if he not interfering with the natural world he created. But if God is still in charge of creating new souls and inserting them into babies, he must remain somewhat involved. How can he command the soul-creation process, yet not dictate that twins should always remain separate?

It’s difficult to imagine that God is currently up in Heaven bemoaning this situation to Jesus…

“What’s wrong, God?” asks Jesus. “Oh, nothing, I just had to insert some new souls into a freakish parasitic twin.” “Did you make it appear completely random?” “Yes, of course, we can’t have everyone down there thinking these mistakes are intentional. Still… it makes me so very sad because I love them so much.” “Well… you are an all-powerful God, can’t you just stop?” SMACK! God slaps Jesus to the ground. “See what you made me do!? Stop questioning my judgement! Why must everything I love force me to punish it so badly? My hands are tied, Jesus. My ‘perfect’ creation has listened to the talking snake, leaving me no choice but to conjoin the occasional twin.” “Yes, I suppose,” says Jesus, “But must you also conjoin animals as well?” SMACK! “Yes!” says God, “It’s all part of my plan to save mankind! It’s all necessary.”

What might we expect if nature forms our bodies?

If only nature is in control, then…

  1. The cells are calling all the shots, for better or for worse.
  2. We might expect a high failure rate.
  3. We might expect oddities like conjoined twins, because nature was never programmed to forbid them.
  4. When cells do make mistakes, we might expect them to continue forging ahead, because they don’t understand that what they’re making is doomed to fail.

The naturalist in me sees conjoined twins as nature’s unfortunate experiments. She may fail 75% of the time, but 25% of the time she gets lucky, and actually makes something fit enough to survive.

This is similar to the evolutionary process, though these mistakes are on a genetic level. When mistakes turn out to be advantageous, the organism survives and replicates. If the mutation is a disadvantage, the organism is wiped from existence. It’s just a matter of probability — create enough random mutations, and eventually you stumble upon something that works.

What nature really has going in her favor is that she only keeps her winners. As the winners continue to interbreed, they all share in all their new-found strengths.

Conclusion

If we say the soul is evidenced by one’s sense of self, then how can two twins share a sense of self? Are they sharing a soul, or are they simply sharing part of an organ that is responsible for forming the sense of self?

As for how we are formed, I would assume that any benevolent OR malevolent creator would show signs of intent, not randomness and failure. If God intends to insert a soul into a creature he loves, he should take measures to ensure it doesn’t succumb to stupid mistakes, and he certainly shouldn’t continue building something that’s destined to fail.

But nature has no intentions, she reacts only to physical and chemical reactions, which sometimes results in randomness and failure. She doesn’t create our bodies because she cares for us, and she doesn’t take measures to make sure we won’t succumb to stupid mistakes. She plods along in ignorance, oblivious to her failures. What works, works, and what doesn’t, doesn’t.

While God may have made us perfect, what we observe today is nature making random mistakes and experimenting. We do not observe God creating new lifeforms from scratch, or showing other clear signs of intent. Conjoined twins appear to be the result of such natural and random mistakes, and not an intentional design choice.

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268 Responses to 24. Why would God create conjoined twins? (Warning, contains graphic content)

  1. rautakyy says:

    Once again you hit the spot. It is too hard to klick the “like” button on a post, that makes one feel so uneasy. Yet, your point is sound and far too rarely asked. There is nothing to add, but I would really like to hear a believer try to answer thisone. It is not a matter of “gotcha”, but more like a clear indicator on how much faith is based on what people would want to believe, in retrospect to what actually is and happens.

    If there after all is a god, this post just goes to show that for a responsible entity said god has given far too much power to the evil counterpart. Wich, by-the-way, leads to a nother interresting question, you might have thought or not to ask later. If there is just one god, what is the devil? It has all the atributes of many gods in many religions. It seems to have Jesus by the balls in this world, so it actually is allowed by the supreme creator to weild power second only to god, and sometimes even set the rules of the game for the creator to play in. It is a god in all respects exept that it is not the supreme creator. Why was the Devil necessary, or does the existance and the obvious amount of power it weilds prove, that even though god shows some form of benevolence towards man, humanity in general is seen by these entities simply as playthings?

    • Ya, it’s certainly sometimes difficult to distinguish where God ends and Satan begins. For example, does God design all the helpful and neutral bacterial, and allow Satan to design all the bad bacteria? And how much is God or Satan in charge of fetal development? In some places in the Bible, God even says He creates all good and evil (e.g. Isaiah 45:7), so maybe it’s just all God’s doing. But if so, why do we need Satan?

      • Satan’s a scapegoat in the Christian religion. “God” couldn’t be considered ‘just’ and ‘kind’ if he did this stuff, himself. It’s one of the reasons religion doesn’t make sense.

        • John Ross says:

          This is a result of Adam & Eve choosing independence from Jehovah God when they followed Satan’s leading. God had warned them that they’d die the day they ate from it. They in effect started dying that very day as they introduced a defect into their bodies and through epi-genetics their very DNA (by sinning – they weren’t created to be wholly independent from their Creator). It was like pulling a fan’s cord from the outlet and the fan slowly begins to stop. Although you turned the fan off, it takes some time to completely stop. This genetic defect compounded with every generation and instead of living many 100’s of years as people did before the Noachian Flood, ~100 years became the limit. As the bible says, “through one man sin entered the world and death through sin”, so birth defects etc are all simply extensions of this basic reason. All Adamic death will be done away with during the Millennium – the 1000 years of Christ’s rule from Heaven over the earth.

          • DanD says:

            So you are arguing that God makes innocent children suffer for the sins of their Great, Great, Great etc. Grandparents?

            • johnrosstar says:

              So is that what you say when someone passes on Sickle Cell Anemia or say Ectrodactyly? Do you blame God for that when it’s something they inherited from their parents? So if we inherit sin & death from Adam, why does that become “God’s fault”? You can’t have it both ways.

              • DanD says:

                I’m not trying to have it “both ways”. If I believed in god, I would consider inheritable diseases to be one of his most horrible acts (there are some other pretty nasty ones in the bible to compare it to). Because while punishing innocents for the sins of their ancestors is bad enough, punishing them for absolutely nothing is even worse.

                On the other hand, if you accept that our existence is a natural process, then it is an unfortunate fact that it is an imperfect one, and that it sometimes selects for things that aren’t always great. Sickle cell is a great example of this, since a single copy of the gene is beneficial in reducing vulnerability to malaria, but two copies kills you. And Ectrodactyly is explained by the fact that natural selection doesn’t care about specifics, only about the result, and it isn’t lethal in most cases.

                • johnrosstar says:

                  Is it ironic for you to avoid giving any credit to Jehovah for his handiwork – the endless beauty of creation and the ability to appreciate it but boy-howdy, you’re eager as hell to lay blame at his feet for deformities or natural disasters. I know i get ‘ironic’ wrong quite a bit but i think in this case it might fit. I guess in the end though, you’re still expressing belief in God albeit a bit warped. So that’s progress.

                  • Garbonzo says:

                    The blame directed at a *supposed* (key word) God for deformities or natural disasters is *evidence* that he isn’t real, not evidence that he is. Nothing in his comment suggests he believes in God, in fact he said, “*If* I believed in god[...]“.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      I understand what he means but to follow his logic, IF he believed in God he only blames him for the things he mentioned – there is no thought of giving credit for innumerable good things or even life itself. It’s SHALLOW.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      That’s not the point though. His comment was not meant to be an exhaustive list of what he would praise God for and what he would blame him for.

        • Sam says:

          I can give you real proof to say that God and Jesus exists. My friend, God gave us a gift known as free-will. Satan made himself bad. God did not want us to be machines programmed to do something, if God did that, it would be bad. But God has every right over us. If we borrow money from the bank, they have control over our money. We owe God. If we have free will, we can either obey OR disobey God. It’s up to us, not to God. God lets us take the decision. Devil was actually a really strong and good angel named Lucifer but he misused his free will to rebel. Every action has a consequence. God threw him to hell. A cup of muddy water poured into a bottle of pure water will make the pure water muddy. Good and evil CANNOT co-exist

          • hex says:

            So, when you put the muddy water in the clean water, the two mix- maybe some of the heavier bits of mud sink down a bit, but there’s no area of 100% clean water. So what? That sounds perfectly reasonable. I think that’s what people (and the world) are like- a bit of good, a bit of “bad”, just thrown together. The mud-in-water-bottle metaphor proves nothing, except that *you* simply don’t like things to be half-muddy, and that *you* want there to be 100% clear water and 100% mud. But the truth is the two can mix quite readily. That’s not proof, that’s just some convoluted logic that you’ve made up for yourself to somehow explain why terrible things happen in the world, why innocent children suffer and die. It seems your answer is that god could not create a world in which we have free will but also don’t suffer from horrible fatal birth defects? Really? So, a world containing horrible fatal birth defects that cause innocent children to die are a REQUIREMENT for free-will? Do animals have free will? And if not, why must they also suffer from these birth defects? I just don’t see how those two are linked. I could see this being an argument for why god doesn’t step in to prevent someone being murdered- that would be interfering with someones choice, the free will of the murderer. But I just don’t see horrible fatal birth defects that affect not just humans but animals too being a requirement for a world with free-will and good and evil. Also, sidenote: doesn’t the bible forbid lending money?

      • cromagnostic says:

        A: 1 Corinthians 12:18 “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
        Q: Yes, but I respectfully bet that is a metaphor within the context of the passage you are quoting- which I believe is a metaphor for the body of the Spirit or “body of Christ.” Your taking it out of context…Or I’m sure it’s allegorical. Nothing to do with actual physical bodies, right?
        A: 1 Corinthians 12:24 “while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it”
        Q: Ohh, so it says he did put the body together. No offense, but it’s also easy to misinterpret one passage without having multiple confirmations. It’s part of the reason the Bible repeats itself.
        A: Genesis 4:1 “Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.”
        Q: Yes- but Genesis to some is allegorical…No hard feelings, but do you have anything else to back that up?
        A: Psalm 139:13 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
        Q: Psalms too, eh’? But respectfully can’t I also say these deformities are the work of Satan or these children have defective genes due to someone else’s Sin or something like that without quoting any topic-specific Bible verses like you do to back this all up?
        A: You sure can.

    • Sam says:

      My friend, God gave us a gift known as free-will. God did not want us to be machines programmed to do something. If we have free will, we can either obey OR disobey God. It’s up to us, not to God. God lets us take the decision. Devil was actually a really strong and good angel named Lucifer but he misused his free will to rebel. Every action has a consequence. God threw him to hell. A cup of muddy water poured into a bottle of pure water will make the pure water muddy. Good and evil CANNOT co-exist

      • rautakyy says:

        @Sam. Yes, I am aware of your mythology. But that is all it adds up to. There is no evidence, none what so ever, that these stories about gods, angels, demons, spirits, ghosts, leprechaurns and what have you are anything more than mere myths. But within your particular mythology, the devil weilds so much power it is able to decieve human beings to do stuff, that your god alledgedly would want us not to do. Now, is your god character unwilling, or unable to stop this Satan character from decieving people? Why would the universe need such a mighty entity as the Satan? Or did your god not know when he created Lucifer, that this entity whith so much power would not turn against him? If he did, then why did your god create Satan to be such a moron, that even though he knows how powerfull your god is, he still rebels?

        What is “free will” anyway? A choise between two possible futures made whith the information awailable to the person making the choise, right? If I knew there really is a god, I would not “choose” to be an atheist, but since I do not know there to be any gods, I am convinced to be an atheist, but your god would punish me for that “choise” as if I actually did knew your god existed and that all the other gods were just a fairytale. What kind of god is that anyway?

        Besides, whose “free will” is it that human beings are born deformed?

  2. L says:

    as an atheist I never even stopped to think about how these things impact on religious thinking. And usually I don’t read articles like this because in the end they often don’t actually look at the facts and just go on about “mysterious ways” and “faith” or something.

    but no, you really go at it. In fact I had a hard time believing you’re christian since your thinking is so analytical and you actually bemoan believing in something that means accepting an ancient hypothesis without evidence.. which.. to me is kinda the whole deal with religion in the first place.

    So *then* I looked up your info page :) It remind me of Julia Sweeneys “Letting go of God” as she also started doubting her faith via reading the bible. (it’s also very funny, I recommend it if you haven’t heard it, I think you can find bits of it on youtube) It seems some people are just so deeply thoughtful and logical that once they start analyzing the facts available to them there’s no stopping.

    Of course.. there is no way to disprove the existence of a god who created evolution but then didn’t touch the process further.. and usually that’s the argument that’s hard to out-do; “hey you can’t disprove it!” But I never thought of the problem of shared brain matter and soul insertion and what that would say about a god who created that process or refused to intervene to stop it even when it goes wrong.

    also, I loved the conversation between God and Jesus :D

    • Thanks, it’s always nice to know what people think who read this stuff.

      I try not to take sides, but it’s difficult. While I’d love to examine these questions and find that God is there lurking behind everything, I’m doubtful that it will ever happen. If God is real, He certainly keeps Himself well hidden. But there’s always a part of me that hopes to turn over a rock somewhere and find God was there the whole time.

      I don’t think it’s possible to ever disprove God, I think most ex-Christians just come to the conclusion that the hypothesis is so ridiculous as to be absurd and highly unlikely.

      I HAVE seen Julia Sweeney’s “Letting Go of God.” At first, I thought her acting style was a little odd, but by the end she had me laughing and crying. I thought “Here’s someone who REALLY gets what this journey is like.” The movie God on Trial is also a good one.

      • You don’t have the full story on these things, you don’t know how everyone in these situations were effected to decide the necessity, if you will, of their existence. If you’d ever told me that two brothers connected in Siam would become rich & famous while educating the entire world through a mutation…I might’ve been a tad skeptical, yet it’s history. It is God who would know the sorting of their souls, it would not be for me to willy-nilly decide wether there are 1, 2, or 1.5 souls (although I see no problem with any option). Even the worst mutation up there, has caused you to ponder, and has caused me to reply — that’s just two tiny reactions; the ripples in the pond are great.

        And no, that is not the conclusion most of us come to, including those of us with a great interest in science and who’ve spent an equal amount of pondering on faith. We do however, spent a lot of time rubbing our temples, while watching a metaphoric conjoined twin fight itself.

        • Penn says:

          To me, the problem of number of “souls” is a moral, ethical problem more than a religious one. Take Ismaal Maged, the saddest story I have ever heard. A sentient head and little more, attached to her twin. Was removing Ismaal murder? How not? Was murder justified? How so? Etc.

  3. Chris says:

    On one hand you use the nature of God and the Bible to make your arguments, but then you say this…

    “As a Christian, I would say that God originally created us with perfect bodies, but since we disobeyed Him, He had no choice but to delete the reproductive code that prevents the occasional conjoined twin. Unfortunately, believing this means accepting an ancient hypothesis without evidence, as there is no proof that we were once perfect.”

    Which then automatically excludes someone from using the Bible to refute your points. You can’t have it both ways. You cannot use the Bible and God to create an argument, and then say that there’s no proof of God, or the Bible so therefore you can’t use it to refute my argument.

    That’s circular reasoning, and makes no sense. Good luck with that.

  4. rautakyy says:

    That is not circular reasoning. Circular reasoning would be to say something like:
    There is a god and we know this because some guys in the antiquity said so. The scriptures say god is a good guy and we know this because some guys in the antiquity said so. We know the guys in the antiquity were not just making this all up, because it says so in the scriptures they wrote. You see a god that is a good guy would have not lied to them.

    The question here is that, if that actual circular reasoning, however unreasonable, is true, why did such a good guy as god alledgedly is, allow the gene that causes conjoined twins to exist? You see that is not circular reasoning, it is a straight forward question.

  5. Thanks Chris and rautakyy.

    Ya, I was having a little difficulty seeing where I was being circular, too. I’d like to correct that logical fallacy if I’ve committed it.

    One is certainly welcome to use the Bible to refute any points, but the Bible by itself cannot be allowed to be an exclusive source of evidence, which would be circular reasoning. If we believed that ALL holy books were true because they ALL said they were true, then we’d quickly realize the problem with our circular reasoning. Instead, we are forced to look outside these books to try and confirm their claims. (And, of course, they all claim to have evidence, but that’s another story.)

    But just to clarify, what I was implying here was that the assertion that we were all once perfect is an unfalsifiable claim. It MAY actually be true, but we’ll never know, because unfalsifiable claims get us nowhere. Even if we were to examine all the DNA from past hominids and find no clues of once-perfect DNA, the Christian could STILL claim “Adam and Eve had perfect DNA until they left the garden, so there is no evidence.” And frankly, a great many religious defenses end up relying on unfalsifiable claims. Such claims are safe for religion because they cannot be easily disproved, but they also don’t provide any positive evidence.

    Interestingly, many animals are born conjoined. So we’re left to reason that either: 1) God is a poor designer, 2) God is a good designer, but cursed all people and animals in the exact same way, or 3) we are all flawed because we all evolved from the same genetically flawed common ancestor.

    • Chris says:

      How about this… Instead of arguing about the random individual questions that could be dreamt up for an eternity about things we don’t understand, why don’t you think about some of the questions pertaining to what YOU believe, and DEFEND them, as opposed to attacking the beliefs of others.

      For instance, let’s start with this one…

      Take Evolution for instance… IF “evolution” is true, just what did dinosaurs eat?

      One way researchers are finding out is by studying coprolites, or fossilized dinosaur dung. And as it turns out, some dinosaurs ate rice plants. But if flowering plants like rice did not evolve until millions of years after dinosaurs lived—as evolution maintains—how could dinosaurs have eaten them?

      Some coprolites contain phytoliths, which are uniquely shaped microscopic crystals manufactured by various plant tissues. Most phytoliths are made of silicon dioxide, the same chemical that comprises sand. Scientists examining these tiny grains can often discern from which plant they came.

      For example, in 2005, researchers found phytoliths from grass, palm trees, conifers, and other flowering plants in (probably sauropod) dinosaur coprolites from India.1 “It was very unexpected….We will have to rewrite our understanding of its evolution….We may have to add grass to the dioramas of dinosaurs we see in museums,” palaeobotanist Caroline Strömberg told Nature News at the time.2

      Recently, Strömberg and two of her co-authors from the 2005 study described coprolite-encased phytoliths that are so similar to those made by certain modern rice plants that those found in dinosaur rocks “can be assigned to the rice tribe, Oryzeae, of grass subfamily Ehrhartoideae.”3 They collected these samples from the same Indian rock layers, the Lameta Formation, that contained their 2005 finds.

      This find joins others that have shown that rice, grass, palm trees, and conifers from dinosaur rocks were essentially the same as their living counterparts. It’s as though millions of years of plant evolution never occurred.

      The Lameta formation includes sedimentary layers interbedded with volcanic rock layers. It is huge, covering a large area of India.4 The Flood described in the book of Genesis is the best explanation for this scale of upheaval, showing that the fossils found there resulted from the Flood.

      Thus, these coprolites show that rice plants existed before the Flood. Either rice had diversified from an originally created grass that was common to many other grasses, like wheat and bamboo, or God created rice grasses separately from other grass kinds. Studies show that rice grasses do not hybridize with other grasses.5 These dinosaur-eaten phytoliths add weight to the idea that rice was a distinct creation from the beginning.

      According to Scripture, God created all the grasses, plants, and grazing mammals, along with any grazing dinosaurs like sauropods, by the sixth day of the creation week. As far as what the fossils have shown, Scripture is right.

      Or this for instance…

      The world’s population will reach seven billion on October 31, 2011, according to the United Nations, and media outlets are heralding the issue of overcrowding on the planet. How long did it take for this many humans to be born?

      The evolutionary version of human population growth presents a fantastic scenario to answer that question. In this imaginary long-ages history, the population did not grow at all for millions of years before suddenly taking off only a few thousand years ago. In the July 29, 2011, issue of Science, demographic anthropology expert Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel wrote:

      After the members of the genus Homo had been living as foragers for at least 2.4 million years, agriculture began to emerge in seven or eight regions across the world, almost simultaneously at the beginning of the Holocene.1

      Supposedly, the advent of agriculture enabled population growth at that time. But according to the Bible and historical records, there was never a time when humans weren’t engaged in agriculture.

      The problem is that in this projected timeline, people (“genus Homo”) must have had virtually no population growth “for at least 2.4 million years.” Bocquet-Appel wrote, “The world’s population on the eve of the emergence of agriculture is estimated to have been 6 million individuals.”1 Thus, the first human couple that supposedly evolved from ape-like ancestors would have had only 6 million descendants after 2.4 million years. This requires a population growth rate of about 0.000000009—essentially zero. Virtually no growth for 2.4 million years?

      In contrast, the average historically observed growth rate has been at least 0.4 percent, at times spiking to above two percent. Even a “pre-industrial farming population” growth rate of 0.1 percent per year—Bocquet-Appel’s number—would have yielded today’s seven billion people in only 7,062 years.1 As the late Dr. Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, asked, “How could it be that the planet only now is experiencing a population crisis—why not several hundred thousand years ago, soon after man first appeared on earth?”2

      To try and explain this slow growth, Bocquet-Appel stated, “An increase in the birth rate was closely followed in time by an increase in mortality.” And the cause of all this death was “infectious diseases” such as “Rotavirus and Coronavirus.”1

      But this only invokes more unlikely events. How could such diseases maintain a near zero balance of birth and death rates for so long without randomly killing the whole population at some point? And why would these diseases suddenly lose their population-reducing effect after so many supposed eons? Plainly, the infectious disease idea, along with unrealistically slow growth rates, are ad hoc add-ons that prop up long-age thinking.

      But the current world population aligns completely with biblical history, with no added stories. Using census records from the last 400 years and a bit of algebra, and assuming a natural logarithmic growth, eight Flood survivors 4,500 years ago produce 7 billion people almost exactly.3 This is powerful evidence that biblical history is accurate, and man-made evolutionary history is not.

      Or this…

      There is less available energy today then there was yesterday.

      The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system, such as the universe, that is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium. The Third Law of Thermodynamics states that as the temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of a system approaches a constant.

      Fortunately for us, the temperature of the universe is not zero. It is moving that way each moment, but it is not there yet.

      At some prior time, all the energy in the universe was available. Energy must have been created at some finite time in the past; otherwise we would have died long ago.

      The logical conclusion is that an infinite Creator, or an intelligent being made the universe a finite time ago.

      And yet more… Oh, there’s a LOT more.. I could go well over 500 questions regarding your beliefs, trust me. If an intelligent being didn’t create the universe, then the only alternative is “evolution”. It takes as much faith, if not more, then it does to believe the “God created the earth” story.

      Here’s more…

      The Holy Land is a region where earthquakes occur frequently. By one means or another, big earthquakes have been documented in the Holy Land for a period exceeding 4,000 years.1 Many are known from history and literature, especially the Bible. Holy Land earthquakes are also evidenced from archaeological excavations. No other region of the earth has such a long and well-documented chronology of big earthquakes.

      Recently, geologists have investigated the 4,000-year chronology of earthquake disturbances within the uppermost 19 feet of laminated sediment of the Dead Sea.2 Hypersaline waters preserve seasonally laminated sediment because organisms cannot live or burrow in the bed of the lake. As a result, only a nearby earthquake (or very large distant earthquake) can homogenize the lake’s uppermost sediment layers, producing a “mixed layer” devoid of laminations.3 A sketch of a sediment core from the west side of the Dead Sea appears in Figure 1. The sketch shows the depth of the “mixed layers” within the laminated sediment sequence.4 Two deeper mixed layers in the Dead Sea are datable from historical, archaeological, and geological associations with faulting—the earthquakes of 31 B.C. (the Qumran earthquake) and 750 B.C. (Amos’ earthquake). Other earthquakes are represented in the Dead Sea sediment core with dates approximated by assuming a steady rate of sedimentation.

      Consider 17 of the most important earthquakes that relate to the Bible. The earthquakes are listed in chronological order. We begin with creation and go through to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

      1. Day Three of Creation Week

      On the third day of the creation week, the waters of the earth were collected into the oceanic basins as continents appeared (Genesis 1:9-10). Before Day Three, the waters had been over the whole earth. Continents seem to have been uplifted and the ocean floor was depressed during a great faulting process that established the “foundations of the earth.” We are told that angels saw and praised the omnipotent God as the earth-shaking process occurred (Job 38:4-7; Psalm 148:1-6; possibly Psalm 104:5-6). Today, the earth’s continental crust (41 percent of the earth’s surface, including the continental shelves) has an average elevation of 2,000 feet above sea level, whereas the oceanic crust (59 percent of the earth’s surface, excluding the continental shelves) has an average elevation of 13,000 feet below sea level. Can anyone properly comprehend the colossal upheaval that formed continental crust on Day Three? Angels must have watched in awe!

      2. Noah’s Flood

      The year-long, global Flood in the days of Noah was the greatest sedimentary and tectonic event in the history of our planet since creation (see Genesis 6-9). One of the primary physical causes of this great judgment was the “fountains of the great deep,” all of which were “broken up” on a single day (Genesis 7:11). The verb for “broken up” (Hebrew baqa) means to split or cleave and indicates the faulting process (Numbers 16:31; Psalm 78:15; Isaiah 48:21; Micah 1:4; Zechariah 14:4). The enormous upheaval (probably associated with faulting of seafloor springs) unleashed a year-long global flood. God’s purpose was to begin the human race again from the family of Noah.

      3. Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

      A disaster called an “overthrow” was delivered in about 2050 B.C. on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-28). That event was so spectacular, swift, and complete that it became proverbial for the severity of judgment that God’s righteous anger could deliver.5 Jesus spoke “woes” exceeding those spoken against Sodom and Gomorrah on Galilean cities that rejected His teaching (Matthew 10:15; 11:23-24; Luke 10:12). The swiftness of Sodom’s judgment was used by Jesus to illustrate how sudden His return will be (Luke 17:28-30).

      Of the five “cities of the plain” (Genesis 13:12; 14:8), only Zoar is described as surviving the catastrophe. Zoar is the site to which Lot and his family fled with the approval of the angels (Genesis 19:20-23). As a city, it flourished through the time of Moses and the kings of Israel, even being described as a city of the region of Moab by the prophets.6 Arab historians in the Middle Ages refer to Zoar and identify the city as modern Safi southeast of the Dead Sea in Jordan. Because Lot and his family made the journey by foot in just a few hours (Genesis 19:15, 23), Sodom must be less than about 20 miles from Zoar (modern Safi). Two Early Bronze Age archaeological sites southeast of the Dead Sea (Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira) reveal evidence of catastrophic collapse and burning along the eastern border fault of the Dead Sea Transform Fault. These two sites are likely the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah.7 A thick disturbed zone within the Dead Sea sediment core, assignable to the Sodom and Gomorrah event, occurs at a depth of about 18.5 feet.

      4. Moses on Sinai

      Before God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave the Ten Commandments, a great shaking of the mountain occurred (Exodus 19:18). No doubt the earthquake prepared both Moses and Israel for the important truths the Lord was going to communicate. This awesome shaking event continues to be remembered in the New Testament as the context for God’s delivery of His Law (Hebrews 12:18-21).

      5. Korah’s Rebellion in the Wilderness

      A crisis of leadership developed among the children of Israel in the wilderness (Numbers 16:1-40). Korah and all his men were killed and their possessions taken, as the land on which they were camped split apart and closed back upon them (Numbers 16:31-33). God destroyed them because they rebelled against Him.

      6. The Fall of Jericho

      The wall of the fortified city of Jericho collapsed suddenly after the Israelites marched around the city seven times (Joshua 6). The biblical account does not specifically mention an earthquake, but the earth would have been shaken by the wall’s collapse. Archaeological excavations at Jericho confirm that the massive wall made of mud bricks did collapse at the time of the conquest, about 1400 B.C. The site of the ancient city of Jericho sits directly on top of a very large fault associated with the Jordan Rift Valley. Surprisingly, the Dead Sea sediment core has a distinctive mixed sediment layer at a depth of 15.1 feet that is evidence of a big earthquake at about 1400 B.C.

      7. Philistine Camp near Geba

      Israel conquered the Philistines near Geba after an earthquake occurred in their camp (1 Samuel 14:15). Jonathan and his armor bearer were separated from their army and would otherwise have been killed by the Philistines. Is this event at 1010 B.C. seen in the thinner “mixed layer” within the Dead Sea sediment core at a depth of 13.5 feet?

      8. Elijah on Mount Horeb

      God spoke to Elijah at Mount Sinai (Horeb) as He did before to Moses after the occurrence of an earthquake (1 Kings 19:11). Elijah, who had been hiding in a cave, realized that the Lord does not need to use a mighty earthquake to speak, but can, in His meekness, reveal Himself simply in a “still, small voice.”

      9. Amos’ Earthquake of 750 B.C.

      The prophet Amos predicted the “Day of the Lord” (Amos 5:18-20) and a great earthquake (1:1; 2:13; 3:14-15; 6:11; 8:8; 9:1, 5). When the magnitude 8.2 earthquake occurred two years later in 750 B.C., Amos was propelled to notoriety as the earliest writing prophet at the time of the explosive emergence in Israel of writing prophets. Other prophets that lived through the big earthquake wrote about “the Day of the Lord” and earthquakes (Isaiah 2:10-21; 5:25; Micah 1:3-6). Archaeological excavations at numerous Iron Age cities show earthquake destruction debris at layers assigned to the middle of the eighth century B.C.8 Dead Sea sediment cores indicate a persistent, two-inch-thick earthquake-disturbed layer at a depth of about 12 feet in the floor of the lake. Analysis of the damage regionally indicates Richter magnitude 8.2 with the epicenter in Lebanon. That makes Amos’ earthquake the largest yet documented in the Holy Land in the last 4,000 years.

      10. Qumran Earthquake of 31 B.C.

      About sixty years before the ministry of Christ, a small group of Levites copied Scripture onto scrolls at the small village of Qumran in the desert northwest of the Dead Sea. In 31 B.C., a large earthquake occurred along the Jericho Fault on the western side of the Dead Sea. The earthquake dried up Qumran’s main spring and severely cracked the architecture. Spectacular evidence of the earthquake is seen at recent excavations at Qumran in cracked stair steps within the ritual baths. Grooved fault surfaces (what geologists call “slickensides”) and ground rupture within lake sediment can be observed just south of Qumran. Josephus wrote of the regional devastation from the earthquake, and he said 30,000 men perished.9 The survivors buried the Dead Sea Scrolls and Qumran lay abandoned after the earthquake. The Bible, of course, is completely silent concerning this earthquake and other events during the intertestamental period. No doubt, everyone in New Testament times knew of ancestors killed in that event.

      11. The Crucifixion in Jerusalem, April 3, 33 A.D.

      After three hours of darkness at midday on April 3, 33 A.D., the Lord Jesus exclaimed the words “It is finished!” as He died on the cross. Immediately, the curtain of the sanctuary of the temple was torn, a great earthquake occurred, rocks were broken, and many dead saints were resurrected from their tombs (Matthew 27:51-54). The earthquake upon the death of Christ called attention to the great salvation that had been accomplished that day on the cross. The barrier between God and man was not removed by the earthquake tearing the Temple’s veil, but by His Son being offered as “the Lamb of God” for the sin of the world. The centurion and his soldiers, who were given the task of crucifying the Lord Jesus, saw the sky grow dark at noon, followed by the earthquake as Christ died at 3:00 p.m. They recognized that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.

      An outcrop of laminated Dead Sea sediment can be seen at Wadi Ze’elim above the southwestern shore of the modern Dead Sea near the fortress of Masada. In this sediment outcrop is a distinctive one-foot thick “mixed layer” of sediment that is tied strongly to the Qumran earthquake’s onshore ground ruptures of 31 B.C. (see Figure 2).10 Thirteen inches above the 31 B.C. event bed is another distinctive “mixed layer” less than one inch thick. The sedimentation rate puts this second earthquake about 65 years after the 31 B.C. earthquake. It seems that the crucifixion earthquake of 33 A.D. was magnitude 5.5, leaving direct physical evidence in a thin layer of disturbed sediment from the Dead Sea.

      12. The Resurrection in Jerusalem, April 5, 33 A.D.

      No human agency rolled away the stone blocking the opening of our Lord’s tomb (Matthew 28:2). It was the earthquake in the presence of the angel. God’s sovereign action was obvious in both the earthquake and in our Lord’s resurrection. The purpose of the stone being rolled away was not to permit the resurrected body of Jesus to exit. The purpose was to allow people to see that the tomb was empty!

      13. Jerusalem Prayer Meeting, Summer 33 A.D.

      Following the day of Pentecost, the assembled church in Jerusalem received the report of threats and persecution from the Jewish leaders. That compelled them to pray that the outreach of His servants and the spread of the Gospel would continue. After the prayer, the place where they were gathered was shaken by an earthquake as believers spoke boldly (Acts 4:31).

      14. The Prison at Philippi

      An earthquake not only released Paul and Silas from the Philippi prison (Acts 16:26), but it authenticated their testimony. The jailer who witnessed the event recognized the Lord’s hand and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. That earthquake draws our attention to how God was using His apostles to minister in the early days of the church.

      15. Today’s Earthquakes

      When Jesus was asked by His disciples what the sign of His coming would be, He talked of wars, famine, epidemic disease, and earthquakes. Jesus said, “These are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8; cf. Luke 21:10-11). The word “sorrows” is the Greek word meaning “birth pangs.”11 Seismograph analysis reveals that the frequency and energy of large earthquakes was not constant throughout the twentieth century. According to a popular urban legend, big earthquakes have been increasing in both frequency and energy. This legend is not supported by the seismograph data.12 There appears to be about a 30-year cycle of increasing and decreasing earthquake frequency, suggesting the “beginning of birth pangs” theme. Furthermore, seismographs demonstrate that earthquakes are indeed distributed throughout the globe (the “divers places” as described by Jesus in Matthew 24:7 and Mark 13:8).

      16. Gog’s Future Earthquake in Israel

      Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe a northern confederacy of nations, commanded by a leader called Gog, that invades the land of Israel. A supernaturally directed natural disaster of colossal scale will occur (earthquake, slope failure, mountains overturned, dwellings collapse, rain of hailstones, rain of burning sulfur, and plague). This colossal disaster will result in the destruction of the invading armies (38:18-23), in God’s greatness and holiness being seen in the sight of the nations (38:23), and in the national conversion of Israel back to her sovereign Lord (39:25-29). Gog’s earthquake occurs after Israel has been dwelling in the land in perceived “safety” (38:8; 39:26) upon the northern confederacy’s unexpected invasion, whereas “Messiah’s earthquake” (Revelation 16:16-20) occurs after Israel has been afflicted with judgments at the site where “the kings of the earth and of the whole world” are gathered for battle (Revelation 16:14, 16).

      17. Messiah’s Earthquake in the Future

      The apostle John wrote of a “great earthquake” in the future associated with the opening of the “sixth seal” (Revelation 6:12). This earthquake will be the precursor to the greatest earthquake since men have been on the earth. This greatest earthquake will occur in association with the “seventh bowl” at a place called Armageddon (Revelation 16:16-20). This future “Armageddon earthquake” or “Messiah’s earthquake” will be associated with the return of Christ to Jerusalem (Acts 1:9-11; Zechariah 14:1-11) and is described as inflicting severe topographic and geologic changes on a global scale. Scripture appears to look forward to the monumental changes associated with this future earthquake (e.g., Psalm 46). After God’s voice shakes the earth mightily (Haggai 2:6, 7, 21, 22; Hebrews 12:26) and fully accomplishes these extraordinary geologic changes, His saints will receive a “kingdom which cannot be moved” (Hebrews 12:27-29).

      Conclusion

      A review of the 17 earthquakes listed above shows that virtually the entire story of the Bible can be summarized by its association with earthquakes. Biblical events emphasized by earthquakes are creation, Noah’s Flood, separation of Abraham and Lot from judgment of the wicked cities, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, authentication of the leadership of Moses, God’s provision in the conquest of Canaan, vindication of the messages of Hebrew prophets, the crucifixion of our Lord in Jerusalem, the resurrection of our Lord, the ministry of the apostles and the church, the modern “birth pangs” sign of the end times, the national conversion of Israel, and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. History, archaeology, and geology appear to confirm independently many earthquakes mentioned in the Bible.

      Earthquakes have been used distinctively by God to highlight some of the most important events of the Bible. The three main purposes for biblical earthquakes are judgment, deliverance, and communication. The lesson is obvious—God does not do anything really big without emphasizing it with an earthquake! In our fast-paced, man-centered, technology-based society of the twenty-first century, God would have us pause and consider His sovereign nature and the program He has been accomplishing in the world.

      • Wow Chris,

        I do intend to examine some of these in later questions (especially the flood questions) but it would be disorderly for me to address them all there. However, if you have some creationist insights on when and why God started allowing conjoined twins, or how He deals with the souls of merged brains, I’d love to hear them.

        But I do get where you’re coming from. As a Creationist, I felt I had many legs to stand on. What I later realized is that EVERY religion believes they have many legs to stand on. We’ve all built up these foundations of evidence that give us the illusion of a firm foundation.

        Even something as ridiculous as Mormonism has a laundry list of evidences for their ridiculous claims that Jews sailed to America, founded great cities, and fought in epic battles (http://www.jefflindsay.com/BMEvidences.shtml). I look at this now and think “Wow, this is what we ALL do, only with different books!” If these Mormons REALLY want to know truth, they have to be willing to abandon their bias and seek what ex-Mormons and others have to say about this same evidence.

        The problem is that religion is such a core piece of who we are, it’s uncomfortable to threaten ourselves by reading opposing material. But likewise, if you REALLY want to know truth, you have to be willing to abandon your bias and seek what ex-Christians and others have to say about this same evidence. If your views hold up, great, you’re on a firmer foundation. If not, your new views are better qualified.

        • rautakyy says:

          Hahaha! Chris is making a wide attempt to avert the conversation from the topic, but if our host does not mind me taking that detour, I try to answer his questions in short.

          1. If there indeed is coprolithic evidence that the dinosaurs ate plants that have previously been surmised only to have evolved after the dinosaurs were extinct, does that not lead to the natural assumption that the plants had evolved such types earlierly than previously assumed? It is far more easier to date geological fossil remains of massive animals than the mechanics of plant progenitation. By no means does this in any way jump us to the conclusion that there is any evidence for the Biblical mythology. It does not even point into that direction.

          2. Hunter-gathrer socities were indeed very small in numbers as can be observed where those have been encountered in rather modern times, such as many nations of the Native Americans or indigenous people of Australia, the Aboriginals. It is typical to that form of economy, that human groups are quite small and that there are many reasons why that is so. Disease is one reason, the obvious hazards of such life are a nother, but it is also known that they employed birth controll and were quite aware how much people a given area can provide for. Agricultural societes on the other hand are ever growing in exess of population, and value the human life in a completely different terms to any hunter-gatherer societies. So, since we know from pollen analysis that agriculture and sedentarism started of in grand scale around 8000 years ago, it is no wonder that the population exploded from that point on. In fact it is natural that the oldest histories are only found from after that developement, because agriculture and civilization provides both the need for writing and the specialization of professions, wich in turn makes it possible that some people are scribes and not just hunters or gatherers. Only civilzations with agriculture do we find any forms of scriptures.

          3. How do the laws of thermodynamics jump into a conclusion of originator being? Even if the laws of physics somehow needed as an explanation a supreme creator type of entity, it is such a jump from the idea of a demiurgi, to the Bible as just one religious scripture explaining the will of the originator god among all the others like it, being true at all, that they do not very much support each other. The fact that we do not for sure know where did energy come from, is quite far away from the assumption that there had to be a self conscious being with power to produce it into nothingness. That is a very andorpocentric (and therefore quite biased) model of explaining it.

          4. The fact that the Bible records a number of earthquakes is natural as it is a compillation of the history of the people who lived in an area where earhtquakes do happen. It is also natural that since the people in those days had very little information or understanding of natural phenomenons, they added divine explanations to those events. So have the earthquakes in other areas been explained by their local divinities. For example the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah, was explained by the people of those days to have happened because people in the destroyed cities were evil. When people faced such incontrollable forces of nature that entire cities could be destroyed, the way they saw it, was because the people there were bad. They had to be, because otherwise the havoc a god unleashed upon them had no purpose and could any day fall upon them selves. That is how human mind works. The evil that happens to other people is often rather thought to be their own fault. Because, if it is random, how can I protect myself from it? By asking god not to do it to me? But evil things and natural catastrophies may happen to anyone. Many people seem to be quite sure that the extreme powerty some suffer is their own fault, even if those other people were born to it. However, if god had just destroyed those people in the aforementioned two cities without warning, he would not seem like a fair player, therefore the myth also incorporates a warning to the people there, that if they do not turn from their evil ways, there is the devil to pay. But, if a god as the “benevolent” entity really wanted those people to turn from the path of evil, why did said god not convince them? One would expect that the creator of entire universe could do better than to send some guys to talk to the people. It is a ridiculous notion, that the supreme creator being was unable to convince some people from their evil ways, but could convince some “chosen people” to exterminate the other people in a genosidal frenzy like so many chosen people have done to so many other nations by the order of so many gods. Of course, one has to consider about the material benefits of having all the posessions and land the exterminated nation had, in comparrison to not really getting anything but threats from turning from the evil path to righteousness.

          Predicted earthquakes that have not yet happened are a proof for absolutely nothing. It is easy to predict future earthquakes will happen in an area where they have happened before, but they really do not need a god to appear. We know earthquakes are a result of tectonic movement in the crust of Earth. If earthquakes are (a rather lame) attempt of a god to send a message to humans, what did the earthquake near Japan this year tell us? That we should abandon nuclear technology, perhaps? Or that nuclear technology can take even the wrath of god with only some minor injuries?

          I really have nothing to add to the conversation of conjoined twins, but what Chris demonstrated here as proof for the absolute “truth” in the Bible was so far out, it cried for a reply. Even in short terms as such. I will not go into the great flood mythology, but I wait with great interrest what kind of question among the 500 there will be of it. My apologies, for not staying on topic.

  6. Avalon says:

    God may not be in it’e element here. As one who has looked into many religions and nde’s I come from this belief. Simply put, this is not a perfect reality. These things come with the experience of life. I pray for these children. I pray that their deformities do not cause them much pain or angst.

  7. April says:

    God knows us from the moment of conception, and He most certainly knows the moment of our death as well. He’s not confused about the tangle of limbs or joining of organs of conjoined or parasitic twins. We all have souls, whether we have tangled bodies or not.

    As to the question of why God would create conjoined twins, you rather flippantly dismissed the role of sin as the root cause, but I’m afraid that is the very reason for such tragic occurrences. Though these children are innocent, sin is an insidious cancer that seeks to harm the most vulnerable among us. And though we rejoice that those children receive new glorified bodies in Heaven, we are told in the Bible that life on this earth is one of suffering. If it weren’t so, we wouldn’t feel a need for God’s redemption, and we would revel in the very sin that causes the suffering in the first place.

    • Howdy April, thanks for taking the time to read the post, and for your response. Even though we disagree, I really do appreciate it.

      You seem like a pretty intelligent person, so let me ask you, in all sincerity, do you honestly believe that bad things happen today because the first woman God created (from a man’s rib) was convinced by a talking snake to eat the no-no fruit? Do you know who wrote this story? I don’t. I know people say it’s supposed to be inspired by God, but aren’t all mythical-sounding creation stories supposed to be inspired by one god or another? If the story contained some amazing facts about how the universe or life function, it might be far more compelling. But it contains little more substance than all the other man-made creation stories.

      I once believed in this story, I suppose because I was raised with it. But if I heard it for the first time today, I’d probably say it was an absurd and obvious myth. Likewise, I could tell you that God just inspired me to write an odd creation tale about how a talking sponge brought evil into the world, but would you believe me? A complete stranger? No? Then why believe another stranger’s strange tale? Let me guess – because you were raised with it, too?

      More to the point, if this story IS myth, then sin never entered the world. In fact, I’d say “sin” doesn’t even exist, it’s just a made up word that we use to describe all the crappy things that we wish didn’t happen. Like these poor conjoined twins. They’re not conjoined because our great, great, great, not-so-great grandparents listened to a snake, they’re conjoined because cells never figured out how to handle unusual situations. At least that’s my best guess.

      Hope you keep reading! :-)

      • April says:

        Thank you for the response. To answer your question, no, I was not raised a believer, though I suppose you could call my family fair-weather Christians. We attended church on the obligatory holidays–Easter and Christmas–but we certainly didn’t discuss religion at any other time. That was due mostly to my father being the son of a traveling fire-and-brimstone Southern Baptist preacher, and the grandson of a Mennonite minister. His brushes with the Church growing up left a bad taste in his mouth, and he wasn’t about to inflict religion on his own kids. As a result, I was actually rather skeptical for most of my early 20’s about the existence of God–if He existed, I wondered, why wouldn’t He make Himself known? It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I actually heard Him for the first time. There was no reason on earth why I should have suddenly imagined that God spoke to me considering I doubted His very existence, but I was left with no doubt in my mind whatsoever that He is real.

        I’ve tried to put the experience into words in the past, but I’m usually met with instant rejection by non-believers. When someone says they’ve heard the voice of God, they’re written off as a lunatic, a stoner, a boozer, or an imbecile. Let me assure you, I have no history of mental illness, I have never imbibed in either drugs or alcohol, and my intelligence is in the above average range. I was not a fanatic, meditating for hours on end about the meaning of life and fasting for weeks to attain spiritual enlightenment. I was a normal suburban dweller with a husband and 1.5 kids who heard the voice of God out of the blue ask, “April, why are you hiding from me?”

        I too have been both a non-believer and a believer in my life, and I can attest that it is much easier to be a non-believer in this world. As much as I would have loved to sweep the whole incident under the rug and forget it ever happened, God wouldn’t let me. Once my eyes had been opened, I couldn’t deny the hand of God in nearly every detail in my life. I have a severe endocrine disorder that left me unable to have children. God orchestrated every little thing perfectly and blessed me with a child that science told me I would never have. My son is living proof that God isn’t bound by our earthly limitations.

        You asked if I believe the story of Eve, but I get that what you are really asking is why someone with two functioning brain cells to rub together would believe what you consider far-fetched myth. Well, I don’t consider myself the repository of all knowledge, but I know that the earth was created, that all life on earth was created, that all life on earth was created to provide a symbiotic system to sustain that life, and that the odds of all of that happening coincidentally are far too remote to even entertain plausibility. That belief, to my mind, is the far more grievous offense perpetuated by scientists in their quest to eradicate God from the realm of possibility than believing the Biblical creation account (written by Moses, the author of the Pentateuch, FWIW).

        Sin is real. There is no denying its existence. Why else hasn’t science found a way to negate its effects? Where is the cure for AIDS? Cancer? infertility? Even the common cold? Why are people still sad, lonely, and depressed with all the anti-depressants out on the market? Why do people still murder, maim, cheat on, and rob other people in our “civilized” society? If not for sin, why aren’t we all happy? If not for God, why aren’t we content to merely survive? Isn’t that all life is without Him–survival? Why ponder anything if there’s nothing to be gained from our understanding but an eternity of nothingness? That makes no sense to me.

        • Ya, I can certainly understand people’s skepticism over stories of personal revelation. I once had devout young Mormon on my doorstep tell me about how he sincerely prayed to God about the Book of Mormon, and how God’s holy spirit confirmed to him that it was true. Soooo… until God starts revealing the same thing to everyone, it’s hard not to be skeptical of such claims.

          As a life-long Pentecostal, I was always supposed to be in communication with that still, small voice. It seemed my Pentecostal friends were always being told by God where to go and what to do. And while it was tempting to say that those voices in my head were God, I always remained vigilant about not lying to myself. Of the hundreds of times I cleared my mind and faithfully listened… no one spoke. (Perhaps God was too busy speaking to the Mormons?)

          So I while do think you’re a tiny bit crazy, I think we all are. But I don’t blame you, I blame your brain. The brain is a very bizarre thing. Even smart people swear by strange experiences (e.g. alien abductions, ghosts, seeing Bigfoot, hearing from God, etc.) I just think it’s more likely that these events are caused by the peculiarities of our brain, rather than all being true (and all religions being true).

          When my faith first began to stumble, it was renewed by the Intelligent Design (ID) movement. Like you, I believed that life was too complex to come about by coincidence. But eventually, I had to reason that ID contradicted itself (see my post here). ID commits the logical fallacy of special pleading: we cannot simultaneously insist that complexity MUST have a creator, and that God’s complexity DOES NOT require a creator. If God can exist without a complex designer, why can’t we? In fact, it’s more likely! Not only are we far less complex, but we are, in fact, known to exist!

          The symbiosis of life is just nature taking advantage of every opportunity to survive. The things that exist now were able to survive, the things that don’t exist now were not. This makes more sense to me than believing that God chose to create hundreds of millions of species just to kill them all off, or purposefulness designed life to survive only by eating other life. What a cruel designer that would be.

          As for sin, it’s certainly not something that’s been proven to exist. Yes, life sucks but it’s not proof of sin, it’s only proof that our environment is harsh, but we’ve managed to make it better. For example, the FDA has just approved human trials for an AIDS vaccine. What does God say to do about diseases like AIDS and polio? Pray! But prayer never helped with polio, science did. Science is a great tool for getting to the truth.

          While I’m not sad and depressed (often), I think many people are because of their big brains. We are the only species to know we’re going to die, which is pretty depressing. But we’re lucky enough to have this opportunity to look around and ponder the universe. If this is all there is, we should make every effort to enjoy life for what it is, and make it enjoyable for others.

          “Why ponder anything if there’s nothing to be gained from our understanding but an eternity of nothingness?” Great question. I think Carl Sagan put it best, “It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” Personally, I still have doubts about my doubt, and I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

          Thanks again! :-)

  8. Melina says:

    God? Bullshit! The conjoined twins are born by mistake during the separation (the identical twins are from the same egg and sperm) where normally one becomes two! If there was God who does wonders, He’ll not let die little kids and people done injustices…

  9. rorran says:

    for me believing in God is a matter of faith and of spirit,its not about physical or material things, surely he made the body which is seen.but you can’t conclude that the spirit functions just the same..

    these twins are born like this because of abnormalities or may also be caused by chemicals ingested by the parents..(e.i. excessive smoking..drugs) which is made or caused by man, blaming God for this for me is unjust..God created nature and nature dictates that if you eat poison you will die,so as these..if somehow parents have genetic abnormalities or is taking high risks medicine while pregnant.. then rest assured that there will be an effect..you just can’t do all shits of things and expect God to do some magic and give u a healthy child..

    but then again God is a spirit so what he sees is different from what we see..in the bible God says he looks in the heart of a person not in the body…so even though they have overlapping brains..it’s clearly not going to be affecting the spirit because again a spirit is a spirit…

    i also think its God’s will to not let these kids (most of them) live because it would be very hard for the parents and to the child as well…try to understand God :)

    i guess it all comes down to faith…i believe that if a person has one then there’s no need for explanation,and if he doesn’t, then no explanation will be enough for him..
    i know i haven’t answered clearly just stating my point..peace guys..

    try this link if your interested

    http://esoriano.wordpress.com/

  10. L says:

    > “you just can’t do all shits of things and expect God to do some magic and give u a healthy child”

    I sorta see your point, but a healthy child is not a commodity, where if you’re good you get a healthy one and if you’re bad you get a deformed one to punish you. You could argue God gave you a healthy fetus to start with but you did something (drugs, whatever) to mess it up so it’s your fault. But conjoined twins don’t happen that way, it’s not the parents fault. But what kind of God would design the world so that your bad behavior affects an innocent baby?

    Why let alcohol affect the unborn in the first place? Why let some diseases be transferrable to the unborn in the first place? If God created everything, that means he set it up to happen that way. And if he chose to go the punishing-parents-via-their-children way, why didn’t he make other sins create disabled children- like adultery or murder or whatever else?

    Is it right that you get born with a disability because of something your parents did? Or not even something they did, but something that was done to them (like say being exposed to radiation or poison through no fault of their own) or even just a genetic incompatibility? Doesn’t seem right to me.

    So, if there is a God, he is incredibly unjust and responsible for the horrendous suffering of many conjoined twins and many other innocent children, just for starters. I personally think God is unlikely for many other reasons, but even if he existed, this would make me think he is not worthy of my worship. When you say “for me believing in God is a matter of faith and of spirit,its not about physical or material things” to me that just sounds like you prefer to close your eyes and believe in what sounds good, and ignore any material evidence to the contrary that is right under your nose. If everybody only believed in God/the bible and never examined the real, material world, we would still believe the world to be flat and the sun to revolve around us.
    just sayin’ :)

  11. Howdy Rorran and L, thank you for your great comments.

    “But then again God is a spirit…”

    People keep saying that, but what IS spirit? Isn’t it just a word our ancestors made-up? What is spirit made of? Where did it come from? And if spirit is made of nothing, then isn’t it… nothing?

    I could say I have an invisible dog made of bobblefluff. “What is bobblefluff?” It’s the invisible stuff my dog is made of! There’s no positive evidence that spirit OR bobblefulff exist. And we could spend all day making up stuff that doesn’t exist.

    “believing in God is a matter of faith and of spirit”

    And what is faith? Isn’t this too just a made-up word? A word that somehow magically lends credence to believing without evidence? I could say “I have faith in bobblefluff,” but that doesn’t suddenly make it real. How do we know that “faith” and “spirit” were not made up in the same way I just made up bobblefluff?

    “you can’t do all shits of things and expect God to do some magic and give u a healthy child.”

    That does make sense, but it also makes sense to say “You can’t do all shits of things and expect NATURE to do some magic and give u a healthy child.” Unlike God, nature has no conscience, no ethics, no morality… God does. If God exists, He could prevent such defects if He wanted to. But if God is no more real than bobblefluff — if He is just an idea from the heads of our ancestors — then these defects must be the result of unguided causes.

    Like L was saying, not EVERY unhealthy baby is the result of poor decisions made by the parents. In fact, I just found out today that our friend’s baby has Type 1 diabetes. The parents are both devout Christians, while and I am not. My kids turned out fine… hers is cursed. WTF?

    I would LOVE to see God ONLY punish the unrighteous, it would be proof that He really does care about what we do. But this is not what we (usually) see, so God is said to store up all His “sensible” wrath for the afterlife. Meanwhile, His punishments down here are all over the map. Unless… of course… God is imaginary.

    • rorran says:

      thanks for the replies guys..
      regarding your statements
      “People keep saying that, but what IS spirit? Isn’t it just a word our ancestors made-up? What is spirit made of? Where did it come from? And if spirit is made of nothing, then isn’t it… nothing”

      “And what is faith? Isn’t this too just a made-up word? A word that somehow magically lends credence to believing without evidence?”

      it would seem that you are only focused on things that you see..you said that faith is just a made up word?but faith is something that everyone has..its innate of every human to have faith whether its faith in your loved-ones or God it is faith..how about love?trust? and also other emotions that you feel?can you see them?the way you explain it..it would appear that those emotions that we feel are also imaginary but in reality these unseen things are what drives humans to live..the feeling of responsibility for your family and self drives you to work,motivations and inspiration drives us to be our best..yes they are related to our hormones..but you still can’t explain the feeling what is it made off?how about your mind?what it made off?sure you have a brain but your mind is different..
      ..how about air?can you see it?but its there you feel it its a fact..you just cant see it, the knowledge that we have.
      we must accept that as developed and as advance our science and knowledge is..we still know little about all the knowledge and in life..and i believe a spirit is made of something but its yet to be proven by science..

      “I sorta see your point, but a healthy child is not a commodity, where if you’re good you get a healthy one and if you’re bad you get a deformed one to punish you”

      “I just found out today that our friend’s baby has Type 1 diabetes. The parents are both devout Christians, while and I am not. My kids turned out fine… hers is cursed. WTF?”

      these things are natural causes doctors says that Type I diabetes are mainly caused by genetic disorder or environmental factors so are the conjoined twins (conjoined twins happens when a fertilize egg splits into two but then stops before they completely separate)..whether your a christian or not as long as you have these traits then you are prone to pass the disorder when you procreate it’s not whether you are good or bad why do people say that its a punishment from God??…they are responsible for the baby since they are the ones who mate to conceive it..you should be thankful sir that your kids are fine..not unless you don’t believe in being thankful as well since there’s no proof that it exist you just feel it..

      “Why let alcohol affect the unborn in the first place? Why let some diseases be transferable to the unborn in the first place?”

      a lot more other chemicals are transferable to the unborn child..its because biologically humans are not meant to consume those…having a baby is a responsibility so people shouldn’t be drinking or smoking or taking drugs if they care..

      regarding diseases they are natural causes as well…if you caught a certain disease your immune system will weaken and your body will need more nutrients in order to preserve itself..the body will also be under stressful condition..and these are things not good for the fetus.

      “I would LOVE to see God ONLY punish the unrighteous, it would be proof that He really does care about what we do”

      if that would be the case then no people will ever live..we would all be suffering right now..because surely every one of us must have done something wrong we all have commit mistakes..it is also mentioned in the bible that God satisfies all desires..so even if what you want is bad..you still get it..i wouldn’t say that im righteous..i guess no one..

      “If everybody only believed in God/the bible and never examined the real, material world, we would still believe the world to be flat and the sun to revolve around us”

      i apologize but i have to disagree on this..for me the knowledge in the bible is as real and as scientific as it could be..the belief that the world is flat is not biblical at all..these are beliefs of early people who do not know the bible..
      in fact in Isaiah 40:22
      “God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them”

      i just want to state my point..coz this verse was written a thousand years ago before the catholic church. even some couple of hundred years ago before Christ..
      It says circle of the earth..its a fact that the bible knows that the world is round long before..

      i tried not to be too biblical in my answers..no one can really deny this astounding fact from the bible.

      i also have a question..because im really puzzled why some people who do not believe in God..tends to hate him?i mean why put the blame?you don’t believe in a genie but you dont hate it right?i think if ill put myself as an atheist i would probably be apathetic to the idea.i wouldn’t care at all..and as a curious mind i would rather be amazed at the idea that there is a God…but i certainly would not hate him..

  12. L says:

    I don’t have faith. I mean sure I have faith that the sun is going to rise tomorrow, or that my family loves me, or even that apple stocks will keep rising. Basically, these are things that I think are likely based on past experience. But I’m not sure that’s your definition of faith.

    I would agree with you that faith is innate in everyone though. Even faith in something higher. I cannot deny that cultures all over the world come up with religion- each different in the details but similar overall. Just google for “cargo cults” for instance. May seem like a “joke religion” to us but to them it is real.

    It just goes to show that humans tend to look for the cause of things. What makes us so successful is that we build tools and create things. So when we see something and we don’t know how it’s made, we assume that a much bigger, better version of a man must’ve made it.

    “whether your a christian or not as long as you have these traits then you are prone to pass the disorder when you procreate it’s not whether you are good or bad why do people say that its a punishment from God?”

    because God supposedly created the world including us. Therefore he created cells in a way that they sometimes mess up and cause the suffering of innocent babies. Supposedly he is all knowing and all powerful, so it can’t be that he made a mistake. And “to punish” is the only answer I could think of to explain why God would cause suffering.

    “a lot more other chemicals are transferable to the unborn child..its because biologically humans are not meant to consume those…having a baby is a responsibility so people shouldn’t be drinking or smoking or taking drugs if they care..”

    so basically:

    everything bad in the world = our fault.
    everything good in the world = God’s divine creation.

    you can’t have it both ways, if God made the world, then all the inherent unfairness in the world is his creation too.
    Ok, if you choose to take drugs, that’s your own problem, it’s like if you choose to walk off a cliff. You could argue if a pregnant woman walks off a cliff, the nature of the world is such that the innocent unborn will die in the fall too, and that’s just how the world needs to work. I like gravity, it is useful unless you’re walking off a cliff, and it needs to be there for the world to work so God isn’t just gonna make an exception for you. And cliffs are neat too. Sure, the existence of cliffs and gravity will mean a few people may die that way, but overall the presence of cliffs and gravity are nice.

    However, alcohol adversely affecting an unborn, or a cell splitting off but then stopping to develop properly, those things aren’t useful at any time. Those things don’t serve any purpose, all they do is cause suffering of the innocent, yet they are part of the world God created. Why?

    ——-

    You point out that the world being flat isn’t a biblical thing. I don’t know enough about the bible to be sure about that, but I suspect you’re right. However, you’ll have to agree that organized religion, hasn’t exactly.. shall we say… reacted that well to anyone who challenged the status quo, like say Darwin.

    “It says circle of the earth..its a fact that the bible knows that the world is round long before..”

    this is meaningless cherrypicking. The bible also refers to the world as being set upon pillars.

    everything in the bible that makes sense in hindsight = woah look at that, this proves Gods existence!

    everything else that didn’t turn out to be right = yeah.. nevermind, that was a metaphor.

    If it had turned out that the earth WAS standing on a bunch of space pillars, you would be touting that other bible quote as proof and easily ignoring the whole “circle” thing. Hindsight is 20/20.

    in fact, this very blog has a post about that:

    http://500questions.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/15-did-god-hang-the-earth-on-nothing-or-set-it-on-pillars/

    and also this post:

    http://500questions.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/14-why-is-god-ignorant-of-his-own-creation/

    “i also have a question..because im really puzzled why some people who do not believe in God..tends to hate him?i mean why put the blame?you don’t believe in a genie but you dont hate it right?i think if ill put myself as an atheist i would probably be apathetic to the idea.i wouldn’t care at all..and as a curious mind i would rather be amazed at the idea that there is a God…but i certainly would not hate him..”

    What? I don’t hate God. It’s more like.. imagine you did meet someone who believed in a magical genie. You point out all the inconsistencies in their theory, but they just shrug and say the genie works in mysterious ways. Would you not find it strange? Would you not try to debate? Of course, it is their choice to believe in the genie and you cannot force them not to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t debate with them.

    you quoted someone saying: I would LOVE to see God ONLY punish the unrighteous, it would be proof that He really does care about what we do”

    and you replied: “if that would be the case then no people will ever live..we would all be suffering right now..because surely every one of us must have done something wrong we all have commit mistakes”

    so to sum up, you believe that the only reason we aren’t all suffering right now is because God only punishes some sinners, not all? Does he do it at random? or what?

    Lovely chap, God. I’m glad he’s lazy with his punishments. Clearly he hasn’t gotten round to smiting me yet.

  13. Hi again,

    I think L pretty summed it up nicely, so I’ll only hit on a couple points I found interesting.

    On Isaiah 40:22, you said that “no one can really deny this astounding fact from the Bible.” But let’s just assume for a moment that the Bible said the world was a square, would you then agree that the Bible was wrong? Or would you just ignore it and go in search of another proof?

    The fact is, the word “circle” in Isaiah 40:22 is the Hebrew word “ḥūḡ,” which actually describes a shape similar to a compass, or a pancake, and not a sphere. Proverbs 8:27 uses the same word and translates it this way (in the KJV): “I [was] there: when he set a compass upon the face.”

    Perhaps what’s more interesting is that earlier in Isaiah (22:18), He uses a word that would’ve perfectly described the spherical shape of our earth, “kaddūr.” He says, “He will surely wind thee round and round, and toss thee like A BALL into a large country…”

    So, while God could’ve easily described the world as a sphere, He didn’t. So I cannot rightly accept this as an “astounding fact of the Bible.” (In addition, the sun and moon were also obvious circles, so the earth was more likely a circle than any other shape.)

    “I also have a question..because im really puzzled why some people who do not believe in God..tends to hate him?”

    I wanted to answer this one, too, because as a Christian I had the same question.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t hate God, and you’re correct — that would be silly. But if God does exist, I do have about 500 questions for Him. But atheists DO appear more angry than Christians, so let me address that.

    For me personally, when I began to doubt, I admit that I become more cynical. I felt like the whole world was lying to me to me, and it was very difficult to tell who was actually telling the truth. So when I seriously started to have doubts, I then resented Christianity, and religion in general, for getting in the way of truth, though I realized the people in religion were good, sincere people (I was one of them, and I can’t exactly hate myself).

    Also, it may not be that atheist’s are unhappy, as much as Christians are too happy by comparison. After all, they have a lot to be happy about! They have a protective God who loves them, they know the truth, and they get a mansion when they die. Sweet! Many atheists, on the other hand, have lost all of this. One man called it being a “dead again Christian,” because you lose all the hope that Christianity brings. And heck, even if it turns out the atheist was wrong, he’s still screwed. So, there’s not much optimism there. I think there’s also a little jealousy, over what the atheist sees as “undeserved, irrational happiness.”

    George Bernard Shaw used to put it this way:

    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

    And Christopher S. Putnam said,

    “Perhaps the reason we are so eager to reject any departure from this fiction we call ‘normality’ is because we have grown dependent on our comfortable delusions; without them, there is nothing to insulate us from the harsh cold of reality.”

    Thanks for the questions!

  14. Couple other thoughts…

    I would say that feelings like love are most likely illusions of the brain. People with amnesia, for example, can immediately lose all their love for their children. Not because they damaged their invisible spirit when they fell and hit their head, but because of damage to a very physical part of their brain (see questions #19 and #20).

    And I do see air! I see it in bubbles, I use it to fill balloons, I can measure air pressure in my tires, and I can feel it when I blow on my hand. But perhaps more to the point, I don’t need to see God to know He exists, there are countless things a real God could do to show He existed, He could: send fire from heaven (#9), lift a penny (#7), demonstrate a scientific knowledge of His creation (#14 & #25), answer more prayers made to Him than the other gods, or appear in the sky and talk to us, instead of appearing in dogs’ butts

  15. rautakyy says:

    I was born into an atheist family, so I was never disappointed about the promises made by religions about their gods, or the afterlife. But if the god described in the Bible existed, then I would propably be angry with it. Because the creator of the entire universe should not have any need to punish innocents, yet this Biblical god does that all the time. It is a silly notion to claim we are all sinners and none is innocent, because what is the newborn baby guilty of? Being a decendant of some guy named Adam, who broke some rules. By what logic a person may be punished of what his/her ancestod did? There are repeated such stories of unfairness in the Bible and it is not just nature that this god alledgedly uses, but also people. In the Bible a god sends one nation to do genoside on a nother nation. That is just plain damn wrong. The fascistic apartheid rule that is now active in Israel is a modern example how this very same god is used as a scape goat for violence even now in modern times. And despite all the supernatural power to make billions and billions of worlds this alledged god is too busy to interfere? As we can see from the example of the conjoined twins, such wanton violence a supreme entity would be responsible for, if it actually existed, is all around us. However, I think the earthquakes that have destroyed entire nations and conjoined twins are the work of the random nature, and it is very hard to be angry at the nature, as it is not a self conscious entity.

    And yes, if this god existed I would be angry about Hell also. As punishments go, they should be measured by the extent of the crime, but what crime a human being can make that is worth eternal pain? What an unfair system it is to condemn most people in the world to this Hell and alledgedly an eternal pain, even if they have never even heard of the possible salvation promised by the alledged son of this god? If god allows Hell and Heaven to exist and divides people to one or the other based on, if people believe in this god or not, with the alledged power to create galaxies said god is also responsible for every “soul” that ends up in Hell. No, it is not their own doing! With such power, this god would have an ethical responsibility to reveal itself without a doubt to everyone to such extent they do not end up in Hell just because they disbelieved, or did not even know of this god. However, that is such a logical inconsistancy with the claims that this god is “benevolent”, or even willing to save anyone, that I do find the entire story unplausible. Hence, I am not angry at an imaginary character for imaginary deeds. I am not angry at any gods at all, but if they actually existed I would be angry to some of them.

    Ethically with power allways comes responsibility, correct? With greater power the responsibility is greater, and with absolute power the responsibility is also absolute.

  16. rorran says:

    to “L”
    “If it had turned out that the earth WAS standing on a bunch of space pillars, you would be touting that other bible quote as proof and easily ignoring the whole “circle” thing. Hindsight is 20/20.”

    it is correct that the earth has pillars..if you will study earths layer you’ll see that it has different parts..one of them is mantle which is the hardest part of the earth and it constitute about 84% of earths volume it holds both the crust and the melted lava on the core…a pillar is a foundation it is meant to hold securely another thing..

    the bible is correct when it says that God hanged the earth upon nothing..
    and it is also correct that god set the pillars of the earth

    to me the explanation on the links looks like a child’s interpretation of the bible,sorry to say…

    “everything bad in the world = our fault.
    everything good in the world = God’s divine creation”

    when God created the whole universe it was Good,in fact people from long ago doesn’t have such diseases…sure people still die its part of nature..but then people started abusing themselves and as nature comes into play off course the child will get its traits from the parents..where else would God get the genes of the baby but from the parents…and if the genes of the parents are already damage….then we’ll know whats next..but still not all parents have deformed babies..

    2011 statistics shows about 131.4 million births per year lets say 10,000 of them are conjoined twins…it is not even 1 percent of the total babies born on that year..and people detests God for the .01 or .001 percent…

    and mr.500 thanks for your replies again i appreciate it..and it seems that your a person that still looks for the truth…
    this might help you out but i think you’ve seen these links:

    http://www.elisoriano.com/en/

    http://esoriano.wordpress.com/

    i don’t know how an atheist feels..but if they denounce God..then do they also accept that there is no Good or evil?do they hope for something else?for me without God there is Just no sense to everything..,

  17. rautakyy says:

    Rorran, good and evil are not concepts dependant in any way in any of the gods. All people evaluate things as both good and evil regardles, if they think moral is magically derived from a super duper entity, or a natural product of biological and cultural evolution.

    Every person is capable of making ethical choises. It is just so, that with better knowledge, we can make more educated choises. Best possible knowledge comes from scientific research of world and the universe around us, not from trusting blindly in any old books. Though, sometimes the writers of the old books may have made correct philosophical assumptions according to their natural skill of emphaty called also compassion. Compassion is the base on how we know what is right and what is wrong.

  18. “to me the explanation on the links looks like a child’s interpretation of the bible, sorry to say…” – rorran

    Says the guy who just brushed off my awesome rebuttal of his Isaiah 40:22 proof. (Why do I even try.)

    “it is correct that the earth has pillars..if you will study earths layer you’ll see that it has different parts..one of them is mantle” – rorran

    Ooohhhh, I get it now! Mantle layers = pillars! Well, kinda more like… spherical shaped layers of rock that vary in temperatures and density… but… ya, kinda like pillars! Why not! So, when God says He holds the pillars firm when the earth quakes, what He’s really holding is the… er… the mantle bits and… easing… the subduction by… uh… ya. Is this REALLY the best the Bible has to offer? It says we’re on pillars, and it turns out there’s stuff (any stuff) below us, and so we make THAT into pillars and say “Praise God! This proves the Bible MUST be true!”?

    “With greater power the responsibility is greater, and with absolute power the responsibility is also absolute.” – rautakyy

    Isn’t there another saying, that with absolute power comes absolute corruption? Maybe God is absolutely corrupt? (Kidding… well… maybe.)

    “i don’t know how an atheist feels..but if they denounce God..then do they also accept that there is no Good or evil?do they hope for something else?” – rorran

    Of course there is good and evil, but evil is more of a verb than a noun. When good things happen to you, that is good, when really bad things happen to you, or to innocent people, that is evil. But there is no supernatural force behind it from the atheist prospective.

    There is no hope for something else. But if there is nothing else, hoping for something won’t change that fact (but it might make you feel better about death).

    I shouldn’t say there’s no hope. We hope for peace, joy and love in this life. And in the next, some of us look forward to returning to the non-life we had before we were born. As they say, death is easy, living is hard.

    “for me without God there is Just no sense to everything..,” – rorran

    I used to think the same way, Christianity had all the answers, until I really took the time to understand what the other side was saying. But if Christianity makes you happy, then keep at it! If you want to understand the other side, you’ll have to do some uncomfortable reading. I’d recommend The God Delusion, or 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, or for a really scholarly work from an ex-pastor, try John Loftus’s work “Why I became an Atheist.”

  19. AJ says:

    Honestly, I feel really bad for all the argument going around. Yes it takes faith to begin your walk with God, but once you begin to have a true relationship with you, he begins to really reveal things to you and show up in your life. I had my doubts but when God came and miraculously healed my mother from a disease, even the doctors could not comprehend, I knew God was real, and I began to have my own experiences. I watched as he delivered from depression. I watched as he talked with me. The reality is that God is the most real thing out there. I mean we are first of all just too complex and this universe is to complex just for it to come out of nowhere. I wish that everyone would seek to get a closer relationship with God, and he will show up and give you that testimony. One that can never be argued against. And the fact that God loves us so much and we still reject him, I know must hurt him so much. Honestly he really does love us. Yes things like this happen, but that was not our original. We were made perfect, and before sin entered the world none of this happened. But just because these things happen, does not mean that God will not intervene. I know people who have been healed from cancer, personally. I know people who had strokes and could not walk, and God healed them, personally. God wants to do miraculous things in our lives, but it will only happen if we open up ourselves to him.

    • Hi AJ, thanks for your concern and taking the time to post.

      You’ve given several good reasons to justify your belief in God, and I’d like to respond to them as a former Christian who once believed many of the same things.

      1) Personal revelation – “…he begins to really reveal things to you,” “he talked with me,” etc.

      There are many other religious groups that claim that god, gods, spirits, or aliens have spoken to them. How do we prove one is any more real than the other? Many Mormons have claimed that when they sincerely prayed to God, His Holy Spirit revealed to them that the Book of Mormon is true. Do you think they will accept that your revelation was true, but theirs was false? Who’s revelation should we believe?

      2) Miracles – You have seen god cure “disease,” “depression,” “cancer,” “strokes,” etc.

      As a Pentecostal for over 30 years, I saw a lot of what I thought were miracles. But have you ever noticed God never heals amputees? Or people with down syndrome? This is why people like Benny Hinn place the people on stretchers at the back of the audience, and not the front where they should be.

      Additionally, when we try to prove the effects of prayer by studying it closely, the results are non-existent. This is why the American Medical Association (AMA) must dismisses prayer as ineffective. If it performed any better than a placebo, you can bet insurance companies would pay for it.

      3) Complexity – “we are first of all just too complex and this universe is to complex just for it to come out of nowhere”

      I don’t believe the Universe came from nothing, I think it probably always existed in some form. Between God and the Universe, the Universe is less complex, and we also have good evidence that the Universe exists (and no proof that its matter hasn’t always existed). We do not have proof that invisible, thinking, spirit beings exist, or that they can create matter from nothing, or that they’d even want to.

      4) Faith – “God wants to do miraculous things in our lives, but it will only happen if we open up ourselves to him.”

      Once you have faith in anything, you will see things happen, but this is more likely confirmation bias or a placebo effect.

      Many people, including scientists, would love for prayer to be a demonstrated science, but the results are just not there.

      In my mind, it’s more likely that “faith” was invented out of necessity because of a lack of evidence, not because God genuinely desires us all to believe without evidence. If He wanted us to believe without evidence, He wouldn’t have claimed to have provided so much of it.

      Strangely, we’re taught to believe that God had no problem performing hundreds of great miracles in the past, but now just wants us to go on faith. Miracles like fire from heaven didn’t destroy the faith of those in the past, and it even helped to clarify which God was correct (a clarification we could desperately use today). Either God has changed, or these things never actually happened.

      If you have any other proof of God’s existence, please let me know. I’d love to believe again, I just don’t think it’s the most rational position to hold.

      • Tp says:

        Oh you said, you were pentecostal. I’m pentecostal too. Im suprised that you feel this way, because at my church, we see God move in mighty ways.From tongues, to prophecy, to interpretation. I mean a pentecostal church, is where you see God move in a service in a powerful way. I mean I don’t really follow people on tv. But i have been in youth prayer meeting, and have seen God use someone to go up to someone and tell them stuff about them, that they would only know if God had revealed to them, and pertaining to healing. I have not seen personally God heal someone withe down syndrome, or amputes, but that doesn’t mean he cant or has not done. I really dont follow people on tv, because most of them are about show, and not doing the will of god. Also when I say my mother was healed, it wasn’t a mind issue. It all started out with her experiencing intense pain in her leg and back, so much so that she could not walk. The doctors could not figure out the cause of the pain, but tried to give her intense medication. That did not stop the pain, it was only after God healed her, that the pain left, and she came of the medications, no longer needed a walker, or cane and went back to her normal life. Later on she became ill with pnuemonia. At one point she was in the hospital near death’s door, because of how pnuemonia had taken her, but the saints prayed and she was taken from death’s door. When she came home, she was still struggling to breathe, and even when she was laying in bed, she wore an oxygen mask. One day while in bed, she prayed to God, and by faith took of her mask,and immediatly she could breathe on her own. That’s God!! We were going to get a nurse aid person to help her, but that was canceled, since we no longer needed her and the oxygen machine was tucked in a corner. When i say healing I’m talking about instantaneous healing. Like when a people go to pray for persons in the hospitals with cancer, and after a few minutes God heals them ,and they are cancer free. I dont know, I have had so many experiences, that I just know God is real. Especially in the pentecostal realm, you experience’s things in the spiritual world. Visions, dreams, God through the holyghost, showing you someone across the globe , for you to pray for, who you dont even know. I mean the fact that I have the holyghost, and have seen it work in my life, I no longer have any partial doubt, that god is real. I have just seen to much.

  20. Tp says:

    Also God still does do miracles. I mean in youth prayer meeting ( mighty things happen) someone had a vision and she was in Indonesia and she saw a huge wave come and cover everybody, and when she got out of the vision,she told us, and said that God wanted us to pray. So prayer was made, people were speaking in tongues, the holy spirit moved, and when everyone went home, they found out that Indonesia was on tsunami watch, but due to the prayer, the tsunami never came. I don’t know i mean i have heard so many stories, of people seeing angels with them protecting them from danger. I mean my uncle was on the street one day, and a guy came up and had him on the ground, robbing him, and my uncle said Jesus three times, and then the ground shook in the immediate area, the guy immediately got off him scared, and my uncle demanded for his stuff back, and the guy gave it back to him,and he ran away.

    Again my father had an experience. He was on a bus,in Jamaica. and he heard a voice tell him to take of his glasses, he didn’t really understand it so he just ignored the voice. the second time he took he decided to listen and took them off. Then the bus swerved and fell on its side, and my father was at the bottom with people on top of him. If he had his glasses on they probably would have broke in his eye… When everyone came out the bus. my father went one way and stood with his bag next to him and a girl next to the bag. Again he heard a voice say move away from the bag. so he did, and then a car came around the bend, and not realizing the bus had crashed, swerved and ran over the same spot where the bag and girl was. The girl was killed and the bag was found underneath the car. God saved my father’s life. So when I saw once you get a personal relationship, God does miraculous things in your life, I mean it. I mean at a point I began to have doubts wondering if this whole thing was true, and if this was just all in the head, but now i have seen to much for anyone to ever convince me otherwise. I remember when I was beginning to stray, one of my mom’s friend from Jamaica called us in New York, asking what was happening to me, because God had impressed on their spirit that something was right with me. That told me that God was watching me. I remember in youth prayer meeting, I remember a visitor who was from Nigeria, but lived her now, came and God used someone through tongues, to talk with that woman. The woman being able to speak English, said she understood. God is so real. I don’t know where you live, but if your ever in the New York, you should come visit my church. I have so many stories about the wonders of God, and everyone I know does too.

    @
    89-28 Parsons Blvd
    Jamaica, N.Y, 11413
    Our website is http://www.allnationsapostolic.org

    P.S. I wrote under Aj, i just used Aj as a username.

  21. Hey AJ,

    Yep, born and raised Pentecostal, can even still speak in tongues, too! (Which is a bit odd.)

    But yes, Pentecostal churches are known for their tongues, prophecy, interpretation, and great stories, all of which I’d now reject. Why? Well, for starters, I can still speak in tongues, which tells me this has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. As for prophecy, because I’ve heard sooooo many incorrect prophecies in my lifetime (and the Bible says that prophesying falsely in His name is despicable to Him). And interpretation, well, it’s not that hard to think God is telling you something.

    You mention things like God giving someone information that they couldn’t otherwise know, but the same is often said of psychics, and there are a large number of reasons for this (fraud, vagueness, careful observation, probability, etc.) More on this in a moment…

    “But due to the prayer, the tsunami never came.”

    So when a tsunami actually DID come, why didn’t God warn people? Are we really saying He warned someone in a youth group about a tsunami that didn’t come, but kept silent when it did? With all the preachers in this country, not a single one shot off a warning that there would be a tsunami on that day. Nor did anyone shout out a warning that people should evacuate the World Trade Center on 9/11. What a glorious WIN this would’ve been for Christianity, yet God was silent.

    There are MANY great stories we tell about miraculous things, and it’s right to question them, especially when we see the same claims coming from non-Christians.

    “When i say healing I’m talking about instantaneous healing. Like when a people go to pray for persons in the hospitals with cancer, and after a few minutes God heals them ,and they are cancer free.”

    I admit I once bought into all this stuff, and NEVER thought I’d question God, until I took a really hard look.

    It started with a book written by a doctor who followed the famous Kathryn Kuhlman around. He was looking for proof, but later concluded that out of all her miracles, there wasn’t a single one he could use to prove a miracle had happened.

    Likewise, CBS once tried to investigate a number of miracles claimed by Benny Hinn, and also found no evidence.

    The same is true for the many miracle studies I mentioned.

    There are many Christians and scientists who would LOVE nothing more than to prove that miracles CAN be brought on by prayer. We Christians are long on stories, but short on actual proof.

    If you personally know people who can go into hospitals and cure cancer, or can do other such miracles, then the James Randy Educational Foundation is offering 1 million dollars for anyone who can simply demonstrate a supernatural claim. So far, after many years, no one has ever been able to prove the supernatural exists.

    In a world of 7 billion people, many strange things are going to happen, and “the gods” will often get the credit. For example, if the odds of some odd random thing happening are 1 in a billion, then that thing will happen to 7 people today. It will seem so unlikely to them that it must’ve been God or fate, but it’s only probability. And with billions of people praying for trillions of things (and everyone prays for healing), then the odds are that we’re going to see A LOT of answered prayers, but we’re also going to see far more unanswered prayers, and no one bothers to talk about all these non-events.

    If God exists, for whatever reason, He’s keeping the actual proof of miracles off the radar. For example, I would LOVE to see someone call down fire from heaven as Elijah once did. Or I would love to see that people who are prayed for in Jesus name have a much higher recovery rate, but such clear demonstrations are non-existent.

    Do you really think, if we got every Christian in the world to pray for a single amputee, that God would heal them? Do you really think that He would send down fire from heaven? I don’t. And I think we’d all make excuses for why He didn’t respond, because we don’t really want to acknowledge the truth… that He’s no more real than Zues or Ra. :-(

  22. Aj says:

    Well first of all when someone gets the holyghost, they speak in tongues as evidence,yes but they cant control the tongues they speak, or when they say it. People speak in tongues when they are connecting with God, whether during prayer, singing, or during church. Also I am not saying again that I think people have been healed, i know people who have been healed. I mean in relation to my mother the fact of the matter is before God touched her, she needed a mask, after he touched her she no longer needed or used the mask. The experience with my father. Well first of all I cant tell you why God did not stop other tsunami’s but the fact is that he stopped this one, And yes we are to believe that this happened,because it happened in my church during a youth prayer meeting, which I attended. Also I know someone, the youth vice president at my church, who had sickle cell anemia, and he was healed. I am not telling you random miracles, that people think they got, I am telling you miracles I know people have received, because the fact they are alive is proof. I can tell you many miracles, I know of, but its up to you to believe it or not. All I know that God has been doing miraculous things in my church, and has been taking us to a place full of miracles. Again I dont really follow all the mainstream preachers, and what they say, I just follow what I know. And since you were borne in a pentecostal church, do you still believe there is a spiritual warfare going on. I mean I have experienced it myself, so I know that exists. But again I say it is all up to you to believe, i used to have some doubts, but those were soon gone, after my mother was healed,and I saw God move in my church. I just pray you will believe too.

    • rautakyy says:

      My sister who had the cancer was healed though she is and has allways been an atheist. Why? Her son died as a baby and the doctors could not explain why. All they could say was, that they are sorry, but these things happen. Why would a god save my sister from cancer, but not save her baby boy? Why does this god act totally randomly, or is it just that there are no gods, and nature has this atribute of being random? Did the unbabtised son of my sister go to Heaven, or Hell? What is his eternity in Heaven, without his parents, who are deemed to eternal torment in the everlasting fires of Hell, because they are atheists? Or was the poor little baby sent to Hell, because of choises made by his parents? It does not make any sense, and it is not even very compelling as a fairy tale.

    • “Also I am not saying again that I think people have been healed, i know people who have been healed.”

      That’s wonderful! Unfortunately, I don’t know these people, but I do know that many people from many different religions have claims of miracles, so I must logically conclude that religion is irrelevant, or these claims are false or misleading.

      I believe there are a number of reasons one can seem to recover from certain disorders, such as a placebo effect (which can be very powerful), the power of suggestion, healing by natural causes, healing through proper treatment, misdiagnoses, or even lies and misunderstandings.

      You said your mother needed a mask, and after God touched her she no longer needed it. Did she really need it? Or did her faith-placebo just give her the courage to take off a mask she really no longer needed?

      “Also I know someone, the youth vice president at my church, who had sickle cell anemia, and he was healed.”

      Sickle Cell News and World Report might be interested in studying him, and you may wish to contact them. On this page they discuss a couple claims of healing involving sickle cell. In one case, they investigate a claim that God had changed a woman’s genotype, and cured her of sickle cell! Upon investigating, they discovered that her blood type had not changed, that she was only carrying the sickle cell trait, and her most recent test results were erroneous. In another case, a man stopped taking his medication on the conviction that God had cured him, and he died of complications soon afterwards.

      As the article title implies, it’s “Easier for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle than to find anyone cured of sickle cell by divine intervention.” If the Vice President of your church was indeed healed, he really needs to be proving his case to the world.

      It’s easy to say God performed a miracle, but it’s exceedingly difficult to prove it. This is why many skeptics ask why God doesn’t heal amputees, because this is not something that is easily lied about, and there’s zero chance that it happened due to any other causes.

      But if God has healed your friend, then we must ask ourselves why God doesn’t heal all the other people with sickle cell who pray for recovery. If 90%+ are praying for a recovery, why do so few (if any) recover? Why are their numbers so small that prayer doesn’t even show up on the radar as an effective treatment? From what I understand, a bone marrow transplant is far more effective than prayer.

      As I hinted at before, I believe prayer is simply a numbers game. If 1,000,000 people have a disease that’s 99.99% deadly, and they all pray for recovery (who wouldn’t?), then when 100 of them recover, they will go and tell everyone how God healed them. The other 999,900 will NOT be telling anyone how God didn’t heal them. But for the .01%, it will seem like God performed a genuine miracle, but in reality, it was just probability.

      But I thank you for your prayers, and I wish you the best. :-)

  23. AJ says:

    Ok after all this is said and done, do you believe in spiritual warfare?

  24. Anonymous says:

    This has nothing to do with god really, it’s when the egg splits in the womb and sometimes it doesn’t spread far enough or something goes wrong with the fertilization. It isn’t a matter of where “god” puts the souls. If it is twins there will be two souls anyway.
    “You are not a body. You are a soul, you have a body”. Just because they share a body, it doesn’t mean they don’t both have souls.

    • I’d have to respectfully disagree. How can we say that the splitting of an egg or a botched fertilization has nothing to do with God, when Psalms 139:13 says “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Are you saying Psalms 139:13 should be ignored? Or that God is only in control after the botched split or fertilization?

      If the Bible says God is in control of forming our bodies, then we have to take God at His word. And if God is forming our bodies, then these malformations need not occur; not only because He is in control, but because they serve no useful purpose (that I can see). Yes, we could try to argue that sin is in the world, but is sin also in the womb? Preventing God from fulfilling His own mandate? If so, then God is weak.

      Also, when two humans share one brain, it strongly implies that we are not spiritual creatures, and it is our brain that forms our consciousness and who we are. (Lest we forget, no one ever confirmed a soul actually exists.)

      The evidence from botched humans is more consistent with a random natural world than a benevolently guided one. And the evidence from shared brains is more consistent with a natural world than a spiritual one.

  25. Penn Douthwaite, MD says:

    There seems to be some confusion/msinformation about the origen of conjoined twins. The confusion does not impact on the theological questions, but I thought I would clarify it for whatever it may add to the discussion. Conjoined twins are not a genetic defect; they are a developmental defect. A fertilized egg may split at an early stage, resulting in identical twins. If this happens in the first 12 days post fertilization, the twins are not conjoined, though the later the split, the more problematic, eg shared placenta and/or amniotic sac may lead to problems with oxygenation etc. But if the split occurs on or after day 13, the split is likely to be incomplete, resulting in conjoined twins.

  26. kc says:

    I just want to first leave a short comment to let you know that I highly enjoyed reading this post and I thought it was very thought provoking. I am bookmarking your blog right now and will go back to read from your first post. Thank you.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Skimmed through this. Coupla questions.
    1)Why would the fact that God intelligently designed us require that God be intelligently designed? That’s a non sequitur argument. God doesn’t have to be designed in order to design us.
    2)Do you believe that the bible verses about God knitting together a fetus means that God did it directly hands on? If a scientists sets up the conditions in a lab to grow some crystals, walks away, and comes back, he can rightly say “I made these crystals”, when in fact, he set up the conditions. Likewise, God can set up the conditions for human reproduction (create the earth, the people, design and implement the bodies of all the animals, make the plants and related systems, yada), and sit back, and still say he made us, cuz he did. He designed the incubation system and the developmental blueprint that our cells follow as the tissues knit themselves together, and then said be fruitful and multiply. It is not necessary naturally or scripturally for God to directly manipulate the formation of our bodies in the womb, that’s an overreach of logic to require that. It makes sense then, that in an imperfect world, defects such as conjoined twins and physical and mental defects can develop. If we require God to make every physical form perfect, then everything must be perfect. This world is certainly not perfect, nor does the bible describe it as such.
    These arguments kinda remind of when Stephen Hawking said that God couldn’t perform miracles that went against natural law because then they would cease to be laws. Stephen didn’t take into account that the “laws” are not laws to God, the phenomenon of Physical Law is a description of how the universe normally functions. They’re laws to us, but why would they cease to be laws if God operated outside of them? They’re not laws to Him.
    It seems to me that when people turn from faith, it’s really because they didn’t want to believe in the first place, and simpy talk themselves out of it.
    I speak as a former atheist, then agnostic, and finally a bible believing Christian.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      “1) Why would the fact that God intelligently designed us require that God be intelligently designed? That’s a non sequitur argument. God doesn’t have to be designed in order to design us.”

      I would agree with you, God does not have to be designed in order to design us. But in order to design us, His “mind” must contain a very high level of specified complexity (to borrow a term from Intelligent Design); the painter is surely more advanced than the painting. But if God is NOT designed, as you’ve suggested, then this begs the question “Where did all His complex information come from?”

      We can either reason that:
      1) there is an infinite regression of intelligent designers,
      2) highly advanced and complex information “just exists” without any cause whatsoever, or
      3) no such complex entity exists, and our own intelligence was derived starting with no intelligence whatsoever, and it accumulated as our minds arose over time.

      I cannot, in good faith, reason that it is possible for an extremely complex God to exist without cause, while simultaneously arguing that it’s IMPOSSIBLE for much simpler cell, plant, or human to exist without a designer (this would be special pleading). Not only is it more logical that a simple thing would arise than a complex thing, but there is abundant evidence for the existence of material life, and no evidence for life made of supernatural spirit substances.

      If you can reason that an extremely complex God made of unknown material can exist without cause, then surely you can reason that a far simpler creation made of known material can exist without cause.

      When we emotionally detach ourselves from the question and just look at the raw feasibility of each scenario, we must admit that the latter is the most sensible. It has nothing to do with my not wanting to believe, I would LOVE to believe, but wanting God and eternal life to be real doesn’t make it so.

      “2)Do you believe that the bible verses about God knitting together a fetus means that God did it directly hands on?”

      Well, yes. If God is omnipotent and omnipresent, then by definition He is there and in control (not to mention He says He does this). Your analogy of the scientist does not take into account that the scientist is not omnipotent and omnipresent.

      “It makes sense then, that in an imperfect world, defects such as conjoined twins and physical and mental defects can develop. If we require God to make every physical form perfect, then everything must be perfect.”

      And yet, you probably insist that God is perfect. How is it that a perfect God can create an imperfect world? If God creates something that is imperfect, then He is, by definition, imperfect. This too is a logical contradiction and a paradox. We must either say that this world is perfect, because God does not create imperfect things, or that God is imperfect, because He has created/allowed imperfection to exist.

      Hope this answers your questions!

  28. Flip-Side says:

    I have a question. Don’t know if you’ve discussed this or not already. Sorry to bring it up if you’ve already debated it. Anyway, how can you refute someone that has had paranormal or “supernatural” contact? People that have “proof” of angellic contact and whatnot. People that have “seen” miracles. People that have had bizarre things happen to them that have no logical explaination.

    Because if they were to say there really are higher beings, spiritual beings, that aren’t human, then could that, in fact, seem to prove that there could possibly be gods in another realm with the ability to on occasion interact with the human realm for whatever reason? Agnosticism, paeganism, spiritism are examples of believing in such events.

    • Howdy Flip-Side,

      That’s an interesting question, and one I haven’t delved too far into yet.

      It’s a big question to tackle, since spiritual experiences can run the gamut from “a feeling of peace” to vivid life after death experiences.

      What we do know is that spiritual experiences can be intentionally induced through a number of methods, including: drugs like DMT, gases, powerful magnets, limiting oxygen to the brain, etc. I believe similar effects can occur naturally for many reasons. I’ve personally seen things I KNOW were not there when I was half asleep (and if they wern’t so ridiculous I may have interpreted them as a spiritual experience). Schizophrenia is a natural example of how the brain can sometimes make thoughts seems as if they’re coming from an outside source, just as dreams usually feel as if they’re coming from somewhere else, but they are produced by our own complex brain.

      Point being, there are numerous examples that show our brain is inherently unreliable and can often misinterpret information. It’s difficult to accept that we can’t always trust our own brain, but sometimes we can’t.

      Another problem with these experiences is that they provide conflicting information to different individuals. For example, Mormon’s might pray and feel God is telling them the Book of Mormon is true, but Christians and Muslims feel no such conviction. Different prophets receive conflicting information. Sometimes it’s from an alien, sometimes it’s angels, sometimes its ghosts, sometimes its fairies, sometimes it’s Jesus, sometimes it’s a god. If unrelated individuals could consistently receive the same complex messages from the same source, it might go a long way towards proving that source exists.

      But this can be a tough one to deal with, because people trust their own experiences.

  29. rvfd42 says:

    I know this is way late on the timeline of your posts. But I’ve just now found your VERY interesting blog. I noted that “TP” provided the following as proof of a benevolent God performing a miracle:

    “Again my father had an experience. He was on a bus,in Jamaica. and he heard a voice tell him to take of his glasses, he didn’t really understand it so he just ignored the voice. the second time he took he decided to listen and took them off. Then the bus swerved and fell on its side, and my father was at the bottom with people on top of him. If he had his glasses on they probably would have broke in his eye… When everyone came out the bus. my father went one way and stood with his bag next to him and a girl next to the bag. Again he heard a voice say move away from the bag. so he did, and then a car came around the bend, and not realizing the bus had crashed, swerved and ran over the same spot where the bag and girl was. The girl was killed and the bag was found underneath the car. God saved my father’s life. ”

    I find it a “divine” bit of confirmation bias that this is an example of God performing a miracle for the father. I would look at the exact same example as provided and ask, “Why didn’t God save the girl’s life?” Did God have it in for the girl? Was she a sinner? I’m sure the believer will conclude the girl was a non-believer and didn’t listen when God also told her. But God would’ve known she wouldn’t listen. So when God told the father, “move away”, couldn’t he have added, “… and take the girl with you”?

    How is this possibly proof of a loving and benevolent God?

  30. sesi says:

    even though i agree with your point, i know what a believer would say, and if he/she says it i don’t know how to answer: “if everything on this planet was perfect, what’s the point of other world (paradise)?”

    • Penn says:

      No point. What’s your point?

      • Indeed, the question begs that there is (or could be) a point to designing a faulty creation, and I can’t think of one.

        A perfect God would create a perfect man in a perfect world where he behaves perfectly. If Adam failed to meet God’s expectations, then it is God who has failed at perfection.

        Perhaps it’s better to ask “What’s the point of a perfect God crating an imperfect man who will end up in an imperfect world?” I have no idea why a perfect God would do such a thing. Boredom, maybe? :-)

  31. Anonymous says:

    I think people too often think of God as a being separate from creation. God IS CREATION. It’s terribly mysterious and goes well beyond “good and evil.” In the struggle there is beauty. These twins suffer and die. (psst, so do you)

  32. Ehrman says:

    I think I can clear up one of your questions here. Identical twins or monozygotic twins are formed from one fertilized egg or zygote dividing in half and forming two seperate embryos. Conjoined twins happens when they don’t divide all the way. The cells do not “knit together” and become attatched but rather fail to seperate and remain attatched.

  33. Anonymous says:

    As julle nie iets te goed se het oor God nie hou julle monde… Liewe Jesus maak nie failers nie. En wie is jy om te judge. As dit nie vir dai tomic bom was nie wat die mens self laat veroorsaak het nie wie weet dalk was daar nie vandag so iets nie… Onthou wie is die ene wie jou geskape het. Jesus love you

  34. Rich says:

    There is no god. Just the cold indifference of nature. Pretending that an imaginary helper in the sky would plan such horrors like those above might comfort some unrealistic thinking people. However the truth is right in front of your eyes. You simply need to accept it.

  35. 500 Questions,

    I’m very impressed with each one of your replies and love the quality of discussion here. This is a much more constructive discussion than what I encounter on YouTube, to say the least! I’m a person of Faith in Jesus Christ being the Son of God. However, I care about knowing the truth more than holding onto a set of incorrect beliefs and am willing to change my beliefs if they are wrong. However, I have never been able to fully convince myself that God is not real. There are always new reasons why I can’t reject my belief in God. I’ll share some that come to mind.

    1. It seems like the increase in scientific knowledge has lead to many Christians falling from faith. My observation is that people rejecting God are basing it solely on there not being any scientific evidence to support it. However, there have always been people who rejected God long before our scientific discoveries. Throughout the history of the world, what reasons do you think people gave for why they didn’t believe in God? They probably thought they had good reason for not believing.

    Also, is the average non-believer really so educated in the sciences that they can base their answer to whether or not there’s a God on it? Give me a break… most people are acting as fanatically about Atheism as people do about Religion. Even the smartest people in the world aren’t sure whether or not there is a God.

    2. I’ve had a few ex-Christians share their story of when they finally accepted that God was not real. They each said they felt so much better, liberated, and could now focus on living their lives’ to their full potential. To me this is strange because I would have expected them to feel awful (I know I would be devastated). They’re acting like they got rid of a burden but I feel like I would be getting rid of a intensely rewarding relationship I have with the Creator and lose much joy.

    Romans 8:7 states, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

    3. Assume, for a moment, that the Bible is true and Satan really does seek to deceives mankind from believing in God. How do you think he would deceive a person? Wouldn’t a person who’s been deceived not know they’ve been deceived and genuinely believe they’re doing the right thing when turning from God?

    1 Timothy 4:1 States; “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”

    To conclude, I know I don’t have any magical answer or way of convincing anyone that God is real but I genuinely do believe Jesus is the Son of God (for now). I’m regularly struggling with doubts but I am unable to convert to atheism or even to agnosticism. No matter how hard I try, there is always some idea that pops into my mind that keeps me from turning from God. What I hope for you and everyone involved in this discussion is to really look at yourself carefully and don’t take these issues lightly. This is very serious to me and should be to you.

    500Q, I have a lot of admiration for the way you’ve conducted yourself and thank you for providing such an outlet for such a meaningful topic. Thank you for putting up with another Christians post to you (that person being me).

    Have a good one,
    -GJM

    John 4:24 ““God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”

    1 Timothy 1:17 “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

    • Penn says:

      Perhaps believers in “God” might define what precisely they mean by “God.” For me, anyway, this would facilitate discussion. My father used to ask, jokingly, “What’s it all about, anyway?” I myself haven’t a clue, and don’t expect I ever will…. I’m OK with accepting that it’s all way beyond me, what with black holes and parallel universes and realized probability functions and Higgs boson particles and conjoined twins and serial killers and Mother Teresa. I had enough difficulty learning Greek. Perhaps we could all just try to be kind to each other, to other living species, and to our beautiful planet, whether or not there is a “God,” whatever that means. OK everybody, new rules: He who dies with the least stuff and the biggest smile wins.

    • Hi Garrett,

      I’m very impressed with your response, you remind me of myself about 5 years ago. I too cared about knowing the truth more than holding onto a set of incorrect beliefs, and was willing to change my beliefs if they were wrong. Only, I found very few reasons to believe that held up to reason, but will take a moment to communicate my thoughts on the possible reasons you’ve given…

      1. You say that an increase in scientific knowledge has led many Christians to fall from faith, and that, historically, people came to doubt without science. I agree with this, but I don’t think doubt is limited to any single God. There were surely people in ancient Rome who didn’t believe in Zeus — which was probably difficult if you were raised with the idea and everyone around you believed in Zeus. Why did they doubt? And were they wrong to go against the flow and doubt Zeus, even when everyone else believed? Perhaps these doubters prayed to Zeus and found they got no response from him, or they concluded the stories were just made up by other men.

      Science certainly does seem to do a better job at getting us to the truth than, say, special revelations from people who commune with invisible spirits (such as psychics or religious authors). If psychics or religious leaders begin curing diseases and discovering new technologies faster than scientists, then I’d say we should put more faith in them.

      2. There is a certain amount of liberation that comes with having reasoned out the truth for yourself. However, there are many ex-christians (myself included) that were devastated by their loss of faith. I found it to be an extremely difficult process. You’re never 100% convinced that God isn’t real, but as you become more convinced, you lose more than you gain: you can lose your church fellowship, your friends, you become disconnected from religious family members, everyone sees you as “turning from God” rather than “realizing the truth,” you lose eternal life, and a heavenly Father who loves you and looks after you, and if you tell your believing friends how crappy you feel, they’ll say it’s because your soul longs for God. And what’s the payoff? You get to think you’re right about something you can’t prove to the believer (who believes by faith,) and you get spent an eternity in hell if you’re wrong.

      I think some believers become fanatical and hostile toward religion, not just God, for many reasons: not only do they resent having been fed misinformation, but they resent misinformation being fed to their families and friends. The also resent being labeled as “sinners” when they object, and they believe religion can result in harmful decisions (such as burning innocent people as witches, suicide bombings, or not taking care of the environment because God is going to destroy it soon).

      3. Assume, for a moment, that the Zeus is real and Hades really does seek to deceives mankind from believing in Zeus. How do you think he would deceive a person? Wouldn’t a person who’s been deceived not know they’ve been deceived and genuinely believe they’re doing the right thing when turning from Zeus?

      Had we been born 2000 years ago, this may have been a very different conversation.

      “1 Timothy 4:1 States; ‘Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.'”

      First, we must ask how do we know that such demons even exist. Is it true just because someone said “the Spirit” told them so? If that same spirit also told them you could cure lepers and epileptics by casting out those same “deceitful spirits and demons,” but this doesn’t work in practice, can we trust this spirit? And if science came along and said “Why, it’s not demons at all!”, and gave us more effective cures, should we still trust the spirit?

      Of course believers in one religion are going to say that people who depart from it are deceived. What else could they say? That people who depart have discovered the truth?

      To conclude, I’m not 100% certain God does not exist. I can only describe my doubt as a war between my emotions and my mind. If I had no emotions — no fear of death or hell-fire — I think there would be little reason to even entertain a God hypothesis. But like everyone else, I want acquire pleasure and avoid pain. :-) But I haven’t given up asking questions, because I still do take these issues seriously.

      Thanks for the great points, I hope you’ll read some of the other questions and add to our other conversations in the future.

  36. Jaclyn says:

    those poor people i feel bad for them Q__Q

  37. The problem of evil and suffering as an emotional based is very powerful. The photographs adds to the weight of it. But I believe if we deal with it logical based then I see no problem.

    1. If God exist, then He is Omni-X(all powerful, all knowing, all loving)
    2. God has good moral reason(s) to permit evil and suffering (cojoined twins)
    3. Evil and suffering exist (cojoined twins)

    From that I would answer your why-question, by saying if God of the Bible exist, then He is just, if He is just, then He has a just reasons to create(since I believe that everything happens because God allow, permit or cause to be) conjoined twins.

    What just reason could God have? I do not know. I need to be either all knowing (Omniscient) or God need to reveal it to me to know God’s just reason to create cojoined twins. Simply because I do not know, this by itself, does not mean that there are no just reasons, but I am epistemologically limited.

    Your blog follower and reader,
    Prayson

    • Howdy Prayson,

      That logic might work, so long as we’re certain the Bible is true. If it’s not, than that logic fails. Is there any one thing in the Bible you can point to, to prove that it is? If so, I would love to hear it.

      If not, then this assumption is just based upon what someone said about their god thousands of years ago. Meanwhile, the observable evidence today suggests either no gods exists, or they appear to be unjust.

      • The logic works even if the Bible is false. We just need to take it as an ordinary literature source.

        Remember you assumed the God of the Bible existed to ask why He created conjoined twins. I argued if that assumed God exist, then He would have just reason to create cojoin twins as to answer your why question.

        Your blog reader and follower,
        Prayson

        • Penn says:

          Excellent point, Prayson. I think, though, that the point of this blog is to question the existence of God. To question it. The blog seems to me to be asking: How can we believe in an omnipotent, kind, well-meaning being in the face of conjoined twins.

          • Prayson’s right, I confess, I have committed the logical fallacy of begging the question. The question does appear to presume that God exists, and that I am only asking why God would create such twins. But Penn is also right, the overriding theme of the blog is to question that very assumption.

            • I totally agree that the overriding theme of the blog is to question that very assumption that God exists. I found many questions challenging and worth pondering.

              I believe my aim was to show that the problem of evil and suffering(cojoined twins, suffering and death of children et cetera) are powerful as emotional based but weak intellectual based when it comes to questioning the very assumption that God exists.

              Late prominent atheist J. L. Mackie, who use to be a leading defender of the logical problem of evil also concluded in his later works that this case has been solved by Alvin Plantinga ( most clearly in Plantinga’s God Freedom and Evil).

              So, unless one succeed in showing that Omni-X God exist, if exists, does not have just reasons to permit evil and suffering, which I believe is hell of a burden of proof, then it is still warranted to believe in a Omni-X God, if exist, who permit evil and suffering. The question of evil and suffering though question emotionally powerfully questions the assumption of existence of God, its intellectually weak.

              Your blog reader and follower,
              Prayson

              • Penn says:

                Huh? I did not follow your argument at all, Prayson. Calling something intellectually weak is not an argument; it just seems defensive. Point out the problem instead of saying the argument or position is weak. Maybe I could follow what you are trying to say if you said it in plain English and without reference to others I’m not familiar with. State your case.

                • Penn, I am sorry that you failed to follow my case. I believe I already gave an argument above (1-3) showing that Omni-X God and evil can logically co-exist.

                  When I say it is intellectually weak, I meant that the the problem of evil and suffering when examined from a logical or evidential point of view is not compelling. It is only strong emotionally as you could see how much the photographs in this article arises.

                  I am also sorry that you are not familiar with contemporary philosophical discussion on the the problem of evil and suffering.

                  If you would love to dance with this issue, I believe reading J. L. Mackie, who was a brilliant atheist philosopher, and Alvin Plantinga, a prominent theist philosopher, on God and evil would help you bring you up to speed on the weaknesses and strengths of problem of evil and suffering in academia.

                  Prayson

                  • Penn says:

                    Prayson, are you saying that it is not difficult to believe in a God who is “Omni-X” and allows conjoined twins? OK, it seems reasonable to say that if God exists, he has some purpose indecipherable to us humble humans for allowing this sort of thing. But why believe in God in the first place? It seems to me that this blog is questioning the omnipotent, ALL-GOOD etc God of our religions, whatever they may be. Sure, maybe there’s a God and he’s a sadistic SOB. Maybe there’s a God and we just don’t get him. Maybe there isn’t a God. Who knows. You do; I don’t. I don’t want to read Mackie and whosis; I’m studying nutrition right now, something I have at least a snowball’s chance in hell of understanding. Best wishes.

                    • Hej Penn. Thank you for your response. I believe the question was “why God created conjoined twins” and not “what reasons can one have to believe that God exists or does exist”

                      I studying philosophy and theology right now, something I never thought I would because I were an atheist. I would be a great liar if I say I fully understand. Honestly the more I study the more I have questions. I am a fool is search of wisdom.

                      The problem of evil and suffering and existence of God was my thesis and I believe I am going to take it further for my candidate’s thesis focus on animal suffering and existence of God.

                      Thank you for everything Penn.

                      Prayson

                  • hex says:

                    “I’m sorry that you have failed..” oh really? Then I’m genuinely sorry to inform you that your post was filled with frustrated passive aggression.

                    This is the “mysterious ways” defense. Whatever horrible photos you can find of how the world causes suffering to the innocent, you’re always covered with the mysterious ways defence. Especially if you hold that our lowly human reasoning cannot comprehend Gods ways, then it is entirely pointless to even think about it. Philosophers want to find out deep things about the world simply by sitting there, observing the workings of the world and *thinking*. This begs the question, why do you even read Mackie and Plantinga? After all, they are not omniscient and I bet God has not revealed his knowledge to them, meaning they are as “epistemologically limited” as all of us.

                    If you believe God has good moral reason(s) to permit evil and suffering that we humans just aren’t capable of understanding, then no amount of observing or thinking will hold an answer. So then why spend so much time considering and debating the “problem” of evil and suffering?

                    From my perspective as an atheist though, this whole issue is laughably simply. Everyone is bending over backwards trying to justify the bad in the world. Jumping through hoops to think up elaborate reasons why this might be somehow in Gods plan, or just plain giving up and saying “I don’t know, but I’m sure God has good reasons…” when the answer is just so simple. There is no God. Suffering exists because that is the nature of the world. Cells sometimes just don’t divide right. That’s it.

                    • Hej Hex,

                      Thank you for joining in this awesome discussion. To group the case I gave as “mysterious way” is, I believe, unfair. Hex the case I gave did not appeal to mysterious ways of God, but a probable defense, that does not have to be believed nor be true, but simply “possibly true”.

                      If it is possibly true that God(if He exist as presumed in in the way the question is framed), He may have good moral reasons to permit evil and suffering.

                      I believe you misunderstood why I mentioned Mackie and Plantinga. Mackie was a brilliant atheist who wrote much defending about the problem of evil why Plantinga, according to contemporary philosophy, is said to have solved the logical problem of evil.

                      If there is no God, as you stated, then I believe there is no problem of evil and suffering. Nature just is. Unlike Hindus who believe suffering and evil is an illusion, a naturalist believe that suffering and evil does not exist. Richard Dawkins’ put it well: “Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous—indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.”(Dawkins 1995: 112)

                      But if that is the case, then I believe “why would God create cojoin twins” is meaningless question.

                      Thank you Hex.

                      Prayson

              • Anonymous says:

                This is stupid why argue about why and how, how about talk about how to fix the problem

  38. Penn says:

    I followed you there, Prayson, and agree that “why would God create conjoined twins” is a meaningless question. It presupposes the existence of God. And if there is a God, who can know why it would do whatever it does. But it seems to me that the question the blog is asking is better stated as: “Is it reasonable to believe in an omnipotent good God who would create conjoined twins?” Of course our postulated God might be omnipotent but not good, not by our standards. It does seem to me, though, that the existence of God can be neither proved nor disproved by reason. Belief in God requires, ultimately, a leap of faith. Sort of like being in love. A little implausible to anyone who hasn’t been there? I would think that a rational person would be an agnostic. Unless/until he makes that leap of faith, and then grants that he is in love, and that it is not rational. Nothing wrong with being irrational! Just don’t call it rational.

    • A couple thoughts…

      Penn: “It does seem to me, though, that the existence of God can be neither proved nor disproved by reason. Belief in God requires, ultimately, a leap of faith.”

      James Randi once said, “I can’t prove there are no unicorns in Ecuador. But even though I don’t know, there’s nothing that warrants belief that there is.” Dawkins used to say something similar about fairies. If there’s no good reason to believe that something exists, we shouldn’t believe in it until their is. Otherwise, there’s is an endless list of things we can believe in that can’t be disproved (such as Zeus, or Russell’s teapot). I think it is possible to disprove many Christian claims (e.g. Noah’s ark) as well as other claims about God, but looking around us and considering whether design or chance is more likely responsible for what we observe, which is the heart of my mission.

      Prayson: “Plantinga, according to contemporary philosophy, is said to have solved the logical problem of evil.”

      Wikipedia sums up his argument this way…
      “It is possible that God, even being omnipotent, could not create a world with free creatures who never choose evil. Furthermore, it is possible that God, even being omnibenevolent, would desire to create a world which contains evil if moral goodness requires free moral creatures.”

      I hardly believe that this has solved the problem of evil. Before God created us (assuming he did), there was presumably 0% evil in His universe. If God is unable to create free creatures that don’t turn evil, then a benevolent God should avoid creating them. Problem solved.

      Furthermore, there is no need for such excessive suffering. Satan and Adam are both said to have rebelled against God in conditions that were free of any pain and suffering. Animals too are made to needlessly suffer. Why would a benevolent God design them as food for each other? And how do we justify such suffering that is not rewarded?

      • Hej 500Qs

        If it is all about ” human free will” then indeed “animals too are made to needlessly suffer.” and you are very correct to ask “why would a benevolent God design them as food for each other?”

        Unlike Plantinga I do not take a step further to provide libertarian freedom as a possible reason that God allow suffering(I think it unnecessary step). Thus a theist A could address your concern as follows:

        1. If Omni-X God exist then it is possibly true that Omni-X God have good moral reason(s) to permit evil and suffering(p→q))
        2. OmniX- God exist (according to theists)(q)
        3. Therefore it is possibly true that Omni-X God have good moral reason(s) to permit evil and suffering(∴ q)

        Thus A is warranted to believe an Omni-X God who permits suffering and evil. I believe an atheist B, bearing a hell of a burden of proof, can counter argue A as follows:

        4. It is not the case that is possibly true that God have good moral reason(s) to permit evil and suffering(¬q)
        5. Therefore it is not the case that Omni-X God exist (¬p)

        The burden of proof to which B bears is to show the truthfulness of (4). B need to argue that it’s impossible that God has any reasons to permit evil, which I believe is a hell of a task.

        N.B: (Omni-X = omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolence)

        Your blog reader and follower,
        Prayson

        • First and foremost, the burden of proof ALWAYS lies with the person making the claim, so it is first up to the believer in God to prove that God exists. The burden should not be placed on the atheist to prove God, or anything else, does not exist, because the list of things that man can imagine that don’t exist is endless. Obviously, the burden of proof has not been met for God, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          Secondly, even if we assume God exists, I still have to wonder why an omnibenevolent God would bother creating us at all. He certainly didn’t HAVE to create us, and creating us only resulted in additional suffering in an otherwise perfect universe.

          But since believers in God (or gods) have no actual proof, non-believers can only point to this, and to other clues that such a God seems illogical, and is contradicted by the observable evidence, such as unnecessary evil. But theists just always retort, “Oh, He exists, and I’m sure His benevolence calls for this much evil… because He exists… and is benevolent… so it must be… so there.” :-(

          The more I learn about Christianity, the more it seems like a fortress built upon thousands of unfalsifiable claims. You question a Christian into a corner, and then He shields himself with an unfalsifiable claim that can never be disproved. Not only is the burden of proof never met, but one must DIE to see the proof. Uggggh! It’s enough to drive one batty! :-/

          • Sadly 500Qs, in the problem of evil, it is the atheist who made the claim that suffering and evil cannot co-exist, thus he is the one with the burden of proof. I did not claim the burden of proof is on the atheist to prove that God does not exist, but is to show that “if God existed” He would not have good moral reason(s) to permit evil.

            One does not have to be a theist, as Mackie was not, to see that the logic does not hold 500Qs.

            As I pointed if we assume God exists, and He is omnibenevolent God then it is warranted to hold that He has good moral reasons(s) to bother creating us at all.

            Your blog reader and follower,
            Prayson

            • Penn says:

              Hoo boy, Prayson, methinks you miss the point, which is why should we assume the existence of God. Why not “assume” it doesn’t exist. It seems to me either assumption is unwarranted.

              • If your correct Penn that both assumption are unwarranted, then 500Qs question is meaningless :D It becomes unwarranted question.

                But I believe, Penn, you miss the point of 500Qs’ questions. He is questioning the warrant of believing in a omnibenevolent God who created conjoin twins. His questions assumes omnibenevolent God exist. All I did is use the same assumption to answer 500Qs’ own questions Penn.

                So whether both assumption are unwarranted, that is not the what is asked ihere. That could be left for future inquires, but not so in this 500Qs’ question.

                Your comment fellow,
                Prayson

                • I give up. I’m just going to accept that everything was created by the invisible pink unicorn (who has always existed). I have no evidence, but apparently none is needed, so long as no one can disprove the claim. ‘Night fellas. :-)

                  • I will follow the invisible pink unicorn red herring, because I am puzzled how do we know the unicorn is pink if the unicorn is invisible? I am curious to know if invisible objects could possess colors! :D

                    Good night 500Qs

                    Prayson

                  • Penn says:

                    But 500, is the pink unicorn benevolent? Does he rest on another pink unicorn? Can he dance on the head of a pin?

                    • He can do whatever cannot be disproved, and nothing more. But I believe he derives pleasure from BOTH good and evil. This makes the observable evidence more consistent with the unicorn, making him the most probable explanation.

                      “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.” ~Douglas Adams

                    • Penn says:

                      There you go, 500.

                • Penn says:

                  Re your last, Prayson, which I don’t see here for some reason: I think you’re right, of course, in saying that the original question, why would God create conjoined twins, assumes the existence of God, and if one assumes the existence of God, then why God does such and so is a meaningless question. God must have a good reason. OK. But in being nitpicky over the wording of the question, I think you miss the spirit of the blog, which spirit seems to me to be: it is difficult to believe in a God who would create conjoined twins. It’s the old old problem of pain, which CS Lewis thought he answered. His answer did not satisfy me, and I’m sure it did not satisfy many others. Go to bed. We shouldn’t be up at this hour.

                  • Hej Penn. It is good morning here for it is 8:27 a.m our time. I am in Copenhagen, Denmark.

                    I think I did not miss the spirit of the blog, which spirit seems to me also to be: it is difficult to believe in a God who would create conjoined twins. I just attempted to show that it is not difficult given the assumption of this particular question Penn.

                    Good morning, Good night,
                    Prayson

    • Thank you Penn. I believe you are correct in my ways.

      You are very right on a better way to frame the question, viz., “Is it reasonable to believe in an Omi-X God who who would created conjoined twins”. Theists have to show that is it reasonable by add a premise, which does not have to be true or believed by anyone, but simply be “possibly true”, that would both entail existence of evil and suffering and existence of God.

      Theists could argued as follows modus ponens case (Omni-X = omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolence)

      1. It is prima facie not reasonable to believe in an Omni-X God who create conjoined twins.
      2. If its possibly true that an Omni-X God has just reasons to created conjoined twins then it is reasonable to believe in an Omni-X God who created conjoined twins.(p→q)
      3. It is possibly true that an Omni-X God has just reasons to created conjoined twins.(p)
      4. Therefore its reasonable to believe in an Omni-X God who created conjoined twins.(∴ q)

      A person who believe it is not reasonable to believe in an Omni-X God who create conjoined twins, I believe, need to refute the truthfulness of (3). He/she need to show that it is not the case that Omni-X God have any just reasons to create conjoined twins(¬p), which I think is a hell of a burden of proof.

      I would love to comment the second part of your comment about (non)existence of God, leap of faith and agnosticism but I am scared we will drift away from the question at hand.

      Your comment fellow,
      Prayson

      Prayson

      • Penn says:

        Prayson: Re 3) It is possibly true…etc.

        It is also possibly not true. Which is all I am saying. Can’t prove it one way or the other.

        • Remember Penn probabilities are relative to the background information. When I contend that 3. It is possibly true that an Omni-X God has just reasons to created conjoined twins, one of my background information is that God, if exists, is all loving.

          What is(are) background infromation to support the possibility of not-3?

  39. Anonymous says:

    There is nothing else I can say to convince you that there is a god. I’ll pray that god will reveal himself to you. Trust in the lord with all your heart and Lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

    • Penn says:

      Convincing argument! :)

    • Indeed. If there’s nothing you can say that will convince me, perhaps you should ask yourself why you are convinced.

      Are you suggesting that the only way one can become convinced is by personal revelation? If so, I’m still waiting for God to respond to my numerous requests to make a simple demonstration of His existence. So far, it’s difficult to tell the difference between God and nothing.

  40. rautakyy says:

    The question was: Why would a god create conjoined twins? Now, even if we claim that a god is benevolent and has some good reason – that we cannot fathom – to allow such evil, it does not answer the question.

    In a system where the same alledgedly ominpotent and benevolent god demands us faith and love (by threat of violence) while allows such evil wich, as that god must understand, affects our faith, it begs the questions, if that god really is benevolent, or if that god exists at all.

    There are some atheists who reject the question of evil, but I do not. If an alledgedly omnipotent creator god demands us to have faith, but continuously tests our faith through this emotionally and logically strong reality, and by what we evaluate as evil in it, but what really seems to demonstrate the indifference of nature without any gods, the whole sherade is quite unethical. That does not demonstrate any sort of benevolence, but either malevolence, or nonexistance of any gods.

    However, instead of inventing excuses for this god, we could come to the conclusion, that it is much more likelier that the indifference manifested in nature is the mere result of nature being indifferent. Rather than that the benevolent god has a mysterious reason for greater good to allow the nature to be indifferent in this manner.

  41. Alex says:

    2 Souls Can Become One? If you believe that god grants a soul at conception – read on.

    Hey there. I am not sure if this was covered in your article above – but check this out. Many religious believe that the soul is given at conception. BUT – read this description of chimera according to wikipedia – “A chimera or chimaera is a single organism (usually an animal) that is composed of two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated from different zygotes involved in sexual reproduction”

    This means TWO or more fertalized eggs combine to form one individual. Can 2 souls unite to form one soul? This has even been observed in humans: “In 2002, Lydia Fairchild was denied public assistance when DNA evidence showed that she was not related to her children. After hearing of a human chimera in New England, Karen Keegan, it was eventually found that she too was a chimera and thus had two sets of DNA.”

    This is not the same as 1 zygote splitting and becoming 2. This is 2 distinct and separate individuals becoming 1 individual while in the womb. TRIPPY!

  42. Angelica says:

    As much as I belive in the existence of God, I also believe that he does not exist. Yes, there is a God. I believe he created this world, which is almost perfect. But even though the nature is so beautiful and look so perfect, it will still make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It is inevitable. (What we refer to as mistakes is actually the law of nature. For a reaction to happen, it has to be the right conditions, or everything will go wrong). One example is DNA polymerase, which replicate our entire genome. It is the most accurate enzyme known, and only makes one mistake in a billion bases. The human genome has a size of 3,2 billion basepairs. Which leads to 3,2 “mistakes” per replication. But this wasn’t really what I wanted to say.
    What I really want to say is that God is the creator. He was here in the beginning, and is still here. But he doesn’t interact. You can’t ask questions like; “Why did God let this happend?” A God who creates creatures like us, humans, with a free will, can’t interact them. What is the meaning of creating humans, with free will, if we aren’t able to use it? Some things have to happen. And I think that we, the humans, doesn’t understand the will of our God. We can’t blame all bad things that happens on God or Satan. It is we who destroys the world, and then there is the law of nature. God has only started a clockwork.
    I am one of few christians that believe both in God and in science. The more science I learn, the more my faith in God increases.

    • Howdy Angelica,

      I’ve often heard the argument that we humans must not interact with the Almighty in order to preserve our free will. This idea seems a little too convenient for a God who’s already indistinguishable from nothing (as with all other gods), but the Bible itself contradicts that notion. Adam had free will while living in a perfect environment and communicating with God. I think we should all have been given that same opportunity; the Biblical God would seem much more plausible if the only evil in the world was done by man (and God’s creation was otherwise perfect).

      500Q

  43. sue says:

    I believe strongly that god does all these amazing way beyond our imagination stuff e.g conjoined twin etc, to show the people he is the greatest of all and he can do anything because in our society many ppl forget and not believe the almighty god (not all though). My opinion though.

  44. Lisa Smith says:

    I have no clue why people blame GOD Jehovah for conjoined twins and illnesses that plague human kind. He created us perfectly and it is because of adam and eves sin that that we are no longer perfect. The bible also says that the world is in the power of the wicked one which is satan the devil. The devil told Jehovah that he could turn everyone away from GOD. The reason why all of the bad things we see happen is because Jehovah is allowing time for people to develop a true love for GOD not because of all the good things that he can do for us but because we truly love GOD Jehovah. Just like people in bible time were tested we are being tested as well. Satan uses a lot of tricks and false profits and foolish people who are arrogant enough to say they don’t believe in GOD. When Jesus and Jehovah rule again all of the ones who refused to believe will be forced to recognize the power and existence of GOD. But just like Noah Arc it will be to late for you to believe the door to salvation will be sealed shut and those out side the kingdom of heaven will cease to be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why wouldn’t god restrict satans ability to play tricks that cause the suffering and death of innocent children? You know, if this god exists I think I’d still choose not to worship him. What, he’s choosing not to do good things for us so that we learn to love him..? You mean like a rich guy who is afraid that people only like him for his money? To the point where he’d let his ‘friends’ suffer and die in poverty lest he be seen to help them? I dunno about you, but here on earth we value people who actually use their power to help others, regardless of whether they get credit for it- in fact, someone who does good anonymously is valued just as much. If you leave out the disease and birth defects, there’s still plenty of stuff for the devil to do to trick people. Oh.. Why do I bother..? I’m nothing but a trick from the devil from your perspective. This whole site is. You might be in trouble with god for even entertaining such thoughts. Or, are you here to save us from being shut out of gods kingdom..? Though it sounds more like you’re gloating. Why, does it make you happy that people will “cease to be” based on their beliefs? Whatever floats your boat I guess.

  45. Jay says:

    Religion, godly beliefs aside, these children or child with half lifeless bodies connected are a mess. Maybe i should keep it simple and go no further but to say without evil, without bad if everything was always good, how could you ever appreciate it ? How could you know the difference ? Something couldn’t be beautiful without something ugly to compare it to, that leaves things plain and boring.

    • Hi Jay,

      If this is true, then heaven is going to be very monotonous.

      If evil MUST exist in order for us to appreciate good, and there is NO evil (or even tears) in heaven (Revelation 21:4 and 21:27), then we would lose our ability to appreciate any of it.

      We might try to reason that we will still be able to remember the evil things of this earth, but this too would bring tears and sadness, for we would remember all those we’ve lost.

  46. Amanda says:

    Please be patient with me as I am replying to this post on my iPad and I will try to not make spelling errors or punctuation mistakes. I can’t go over everything and I know there have been many replies so others may already have said what I am about to say.

    First of all I am what some of the posts would call a ‘believer’ now before you roll your eyes please take the time to read some of my post. It may give you an answer somewhere in there.

    When God first created the world it was without disease. God said, ‘it was good’. However, after the fall of man (forbidden fruit debacle) then death, disease, calamities, inequalities, etc… Entered the ‘perfect’ world. Oh yeah, and if you are wondering why there is a Devil it’s real simple. When God gave His creatures ‘Free Will’, the fact that you are not an anamotron just doing His bidding like a good robot, then evil began to exist. It is directly related to choosing to go against God because He will never force you to do His will. Satan was an angel who had free will and he chose to go against God, and because God loves us he knew that he could hurt God (God is not emotionless, He can be deeply saddened by our choices. Like you can be saddened when you know your children are making the wrong choices). Satan tempted us and we epic failed, truth is we continue to fail. I know I have been hurt by other people & I’ve hurt people too. Dont deny it, we all have. I can’t deny that there is sin in the world… Just think of the Newton Town shootings if you need an example.

    I’m pariphraising here so please excuse me if i don’t get the exact wording. The Bible says that ‘creation is groaning because of sin.’ Let’s face it folks, the universe is circling the drain. We have more antibiotic resistant bacteria then ever before (have you checked out MRSA before? Just google it), cancer is on the rise in young and old alike, climate change, etc… I heard on my local information radio channel recently that the earth’s rotation is slowing down. Slowing down *_*! Yikes!! Of course the rate that the slowing is infinitismal so we won’t notice it for a long time to come. But the fact is, it’s happening. You can believe that conjoined twins will happen in a world like this.

    God is sovereign, which means everything gets His stamp of approval (whether or not it makes sense to us). He allows those babies to be conjoined, and yes He knits them together in the womb. I don’t know why He doesn’t fix them, but if God fixed everything (from conjoined twins to the US budget soap opera) who would need faith. If you’ve ever seen The Matrix movies you might remember the part where (i think it was Mr Smith. If not it was Morpheous) Mr Smith is telling Neo that the first time around the machines made their [simulated] life perfect and the people kept trying to wake up. I thought that was an interesting line in the movie cause you know and I know that this world isn’t perfect, and we would know something was wrong if everything worked out perfectly. I sleep much better at night knowing God will make everything right in the end. I have faith in that.

    The author of this article talked a lot about souls. Which surprised me because God doesn’t ‘insert’ a soul. He ‘breaths life’ into His creations. He doesn’t make our personalities, He, however, already knows who we are before we do. Whether or not you are Abby & Brittney Hensel where you share a body. A conjoined twin is just that. A set of twins connected somewhere. That’s 2 distinct people with one body. All of the people on this article (whether or not both twins survived- see parasitic twin) would have a soul for each twin. Just ask youself, is this a person a twin? if the answer is yes then there will be 2 souls in that body. If one twin didn’t survive (parasitic) that child’s soul goes to rest with God before their surviving sibling. That is a great comfort to me! Wouldn’t it to you? To think that unfinished form didnt have a purpose would be tragic :.(. That their soul is alive and well is a great comfort. If I had a parasitic twin I would have no problem having them removed because they’re not in that unformed body anymore and at that point it would be a strain on my body. I would give my parasitic twin a burial too because they were a person too; however unfinished. I hope I haven’t carried on too long but for whatever my 2 cents are worth, there it is. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. ~a

  47. Mckenzie says:

    Amazing Site, Stick to the fantastic work. Thanks a ton.

  48. Kayla says:

    I believe sin has played a role in the world and lets not forget as human civilization advanced we have started to use nuclear energy,coal and natural gas to heat our homes. Why could not these things have effect on our human genome or even the animal,insects,reptiles and frogs genomes as well for instance radiation can get rid of cancer but it can also cause cancer in all things. So why cant these things cause human birth defects as well and lets remember where the food and stuff we drink come from its all loaded with pesticides,growth hormones and possibly other stuff that can damage our genetic code to a certain degree. I have type 2 diabetes that stems from me having a predisposition to it genetically that stems from me having a second genetic condition that is called poly cystic ovarian syndrome or [PCOS] for short plus i also have ADHD and multiple learning disabilities. Do i think sin played a role in me being born with such health issues yes and no. I believe sin did play a role because without sin do you think we would have all the chemicals that we ingest on a daily basis from the air ,things we eat or drink and my father was an alcoholic until i was about two to three years old and so was his mom my grandma an alcoholic which i believe can damage the genetic code over time and my mom was a smoker the entire time she was pregnant with me so yes i do believe that sin can cause many things to go wrong but think about this for a second. I watched a video on youtube about a little girl who was born with severe chromosonal defects called trisomy 17 or 18 she was born dead but came back to life thirty minutes later and shes now a five year old child who still struggles but shes a living miracle because despite the mark of sin on her genetic code God chose to keep her on this earth for a purpose. Now take for instance the story of brooke greenberg the 18+ year old girl trapped in a body of a baby doctors claim she holds the cure for anti aging but with each passing year of us on earth using resources and creating more and more deadly chemicals that speed up the decay of our genetic code and which in turn i believe is what is causing more babies to be born conjoined or with severe birth defects. I remember reading an article about this drug give to pregnant women in the 50’s and 60’s that caused severe if not fatal defects in there children but why blame god for it when it was lucifer who tempted eve to eat that apple that started the wheel of our own destruction by allowing us humans to freely choose what to do which in turn led to chemical warfare ,untold usage of pesticides on crops,viruses that have become immune to treatment. Why cant people see its because of sin that we kill each other in senseless wars that cause nothing but more grief and sin. I believe this scripture refers to satan.
    John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy
    Psalm 58:3
    3 Even from birth the wicked go astray;
    from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
    its basically saying god does not cause the defects in the womb it is sin which is in turn caused by satan. Because if we believe in God and have faith surely we will prosper in all things that we do.
    I am a devout christian have been since i was five years old i was taught the bible from sixth grade -12th grade at a christian school. I with health problems do not bemoan God for cursing me because its the path i was given in life and i shall walk that path through anything satan throws my way. Proverbs 10:11
    11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
    On the subject of conjoined twins My grandpa was one and he was born in 1910 of course his twin was born dead and they were only conjoined by the ear or so I was told by my family. If you look back in history the cases of such twins are rare i mean the first known case of such twins were the ones who coined the term siamese twins so my thinking is its a mixture of sin and the advancement of chemical usage that has probably caused the spike in such births not GOD as the author so claims. That is my two cents worth of thought. May God bless you all in life and in everything you do. Sincerely the christian virgin gal.

    • hex says:

      Kayla.. you ask the question: “Why could not these things [radiation, pollution] have effect on our human genome or even the animal,insects,reptiles and frogs genomes as well for instance radiation can get rid of cancer but it can also cause cancer in all things?”
      The answer: Because it doesn’t work like that. How do I know? Well, no, I don’t know, but that is what science tells us and I believe it is so likely to be true that I round it up to “I know” for convenience sake. So I put blind trust in scientists? To a certain extent, but not so much individual scientists, more the scientific community and scientific method in general. I think it’s a lot better than blind trust in a book that got translated a bunch of times. Also, I’m sure that in some instances, human-made pollution has indeed caused birth defects. Agent orange, for instance. BUT.. man-made pollution and radiation are not everywhere and not at all times. So, if a skeleton was found to exist from a pre-pollution/etc time or an area with no pollution, and it was shown to have a birth defect, would that refute your belief? Or would you find another way to bend over backwards to rationalise it? Also consider that the universe has a constant low level of radiation that has always been there.. no human action has any effect on it- why would God do that? In some areas of the world, this level of radiation is higher, and this has been found to correlate with slightly lower rates of cancer. Speculation is that maybe this makes us (and the animals there too I suppose) more resilient. So then if this base radiation makes a difference.. why didn’t God endow all places on earth with this lower rate of cancer? There are just so many holes in this logic.

    • hex says:

      furthermore.. you told the story of the little girl who was “born dead”, but you claim God brought her back for a purpose. Doesn’t that raise the question.. what about all the babies who die? Did God deem their existence not purposeful enough and therefore not worthy of a little extra intervention? Seems that God is discriminating between babies and unborn children based on their purposeful-ness. If humans have _free will_ and we can _choose_ to sin or not to sin and get the consequences for their actions.. then how does God know which children are worthy of the extra life-saving measures? Oh right, because he knows the future and he knows which babies will grow up to fulfil some meaningful purpose, and which babies will lead sinful lives- and he choses to save the virtuous ones, the ones who have a higher purpose in life. But this raises a bigger question- if God already knows what your life will be like when you are still in your mothers womb, and he sometimes chooses whether you get to live or not based on your virtuousness (which may be fair enough if you have sinned, but you have had NO chance to actually prove as fetus/baby).. then why bother with life at all? Why not just sort people straight to hell or heaven, without the pesky in-between part? Isn’t life supposed to be the part where you have the chance to prove yourself to be a good, intelligent and moral person?

  49. Alicia says:

    I’m sorry, but I defy God. He was never there for me in my hardest times, nor Jesus or whatsoever, even if I prayed at night. I’m sorry if this offends others, but please, I wish for no argument on this, these are my own words and not to persuade you in any sort of way. I think it is just a fluke in nature, unnatural birth that has nothing to do with God, Jesus, sins, past life. I think it is just as cruel as your breakfast eggs. Well, I’m not Kosher or whatever, I drink milk and am an omnivore like many people. Think about it. You are given a chance in life but suddenly you stop growing because the farmer has sent you off to the store that stuffs you in a freezer! Conjoined twins are actually given the chance to live life and make it, however if they die, breathing out of their mother’s womb is just to taunt them and they end up, um, dying. Abnormality plays its role in life, getting up in news, tragically posted on magazines, and it’s not so simple when your brother or sister is sticking out your stomach. I am sure God would not do such a cruel thing and he doesn’t have to, because what I think is that Christianity just a religion, nothing more to it. Sure, he did die and get nailed, that’s history. My memory fails me yet again, I have no clue how people got angry at him and thought he was right after he died… but it doesn’t mean there is heaven or hell. All in all, my thoughts on this conclude to me that this is just a fluke of nature as given above, it wasn’t ever meant to happen, but happened because failure in a proper birth. Thank you for taking time to read this- Please don’t comment with harsh words. I think of it as war and bullying. Simply voting down would actually be a lot better for me… sorry again if this offended your religion :(

    • John Ross says:

      A lot of sensible views, except for saying “God stitches conjoined twins together in the womb”. Wonky DNA is responsible for that. Those mechanisms do the work, not God having to micro-manage every step. He doesn’t. Like one scripture says, “they are not His children, the defect is their own”. When Adam & Eve gave God the finger and set out on their own, independent from Jehovah, they were taking on responsibility for their actions. HE had warned them that death would be the outcome. Maybe they didn’t fully process the ugliness that lies between being alive and the grave. Is that God’s fault? Could they then blame God for problems their kids had? What about their kids’ kids? What about 1000 generations later?
      But, he has provided a way to reconcile with him and that’s through a new “Adam”: Jesus Christ. He adopts those exercising faith in him and bought them with his own sacrificed perfect human life. He can then impart perfection on to these people, becoming their “Eternal Father” so to speak (not to be confused with Jehovah, his own Father). It’s a legal thing. Jehovah is righteous and does things according to a very high standard of justice. So in time, all the horrible things mankind has suffered can be undone. The resurrection is the main tool here. Whatever one suffers in this temporary state will be undone and become a faded memory at some point…forever is a long time. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach the straight dope about these subjects.

      • Howdy John,

        Have you ever thought about how God is supposed to know everything, yet never seems to be held accountable when the shit hits the fan? Like how God creates Satan, yet God doesn’t seem to know he’ll turn evil? Or how God creates Adam, and when Adam turns evil, God is not responsible? It’s like a painter blaming the painting for turning out bad, as if he had no say in the matter. If God creates us, then he can create us with the desire for good, pure and simple. Either God doesn’t know the future, or he’s unable to create ONLY good men and angels.

        We might say, “Well, if he FORCED everyone to be good, then they wouldn’t have free will!” True, but if he created us to desire good, we wouldn’t care. And this way, everything would be good! Which is how it should be, because an all-good God shouldn’t be able to create evil angels and sin-filled humans.

        If Jesus does actually redeem us from Adam’s sin, it would be nice to see some actual physical evidence of this. For example, if sin in this world causes cancer, then redemption from sin should make it go away (or make it never appear). Instead, we’re asked to wait until we’re dead to see the real value of redemption. We’re allowed to see the devastation sin causes, but not see the healing redemption that it brings.

        • John Ross says:

          Of course i have. But it’s like how they are trying to take God out of textbooks and teach godless evolution because they don’t want to give Him any credit for the wonderful gift of life but insurance companies call earthquakes and tornadoes Acts of God. So it works both ways.
          As Eccl. 9:11 states, even the rich and powerful have no real advantage because “time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all”. If God is theoretically able to calculate every act anyone will ever do, i really don’t think He goes to the trouble. A lot of our ideas about God being omniscient and omnipresent etc are formed by ancient mythologies and not scripture. Like the idea that our days are already numbered so people think there is no way to escape your fate “when your number is up”. This comes from the Greeks with their Three Fates spinning a thread that represents your life: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos…..i think the last one cuts the thread determining your life span.
          When the bible says “unforeseen”, it really means it. Like some guy goes to war and a bomb blows up his entire squad but he’s uninjured so he thinks he’s been saved by God for some great purpose. Well, toss a grenade in a room and you’ll see some areas on the walls won’t have any damage. It’s CHANCE. Or how someone walks away from a violent car wreck. Same way it doesn’t mean those that died were on God’s ‘hit list’.

          Possibly your outlook on what Heaven or the prophesied paradise or even how angels behave might be a lot more sterile than the reality. It’s my belief that the angel who became Satan had been developing his rebel spirit long before Adam & Eve came along and he had the freedom to do so. There were many 1000’s of years on earth where various hominids were running for the lives from dinosaurs etc. Some angels who later became demons probably wet their appetite for violence way back then on the free entertainment. Earth might have been like going to Disneyland for angels. Anyway, those angels had immense freedoms; even the freedom to make mistakes and at some point crossed the line and Jehovah gave them the heave-ho out of heaven.

          “Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” -bible
          At least if there are any future rebellions against God’s sovereignty, there will be legal precedent in place to deal more speedily with the perps. BUT we will still have the freedom to make mistakes. When we are obedient to God’s will it’s a fully conscious decision.

  50. Kingsley says:

    To answer your question who is the ruler of the current world. The devil!
    God will come and make perfect the new earth and heaven according to the timetable of revelations…currently the devil is ruling this world as he is allowed to roam and rule mankind for now. But all this will end one day.God will wipe away every tear, comfort the broken and give us eva lasting joy – but only if you seek him and follow his ways!

    • Thanks Kingsley,

      I do understand that this is the boiler-plate answer for evil, but let me ask you this: do you think God is powerful enough to create a Universe where conjoined twins do NOT exist? Or would this utterly destroy our ability to make a free will choices? If it wouldn’t, then conjoined twins are completely unnecessary.

      A world without conjoined twins would suggest to me a designer that cares about the innocent, and this is the kind of God I wouldn’t mind serving. But given the present circumstances, it appears the designer doesn’t actually give a shit (pardon my French), and if he doesn’t care about the most innocent in this life, I highly doubt he’s going to care about what happens to the guilty in the next.

      Love and respect,
      500Q

      • John Ross says:

        Our frame of reference is so small that issues affecting mankind seem insurmountable. But Jehovah views things from more of a geologic time frame, if you will. So some thousands of years of suffering will eventually be just a tiny dot on the timeline of existence. The fact that he’s holding out the gift of everlasting life to those who exercise faith in his Son means that we can attempt to meditate on things from God’s perspective to a small extent. The good thing is that at least we only have to die once and if we were born into suffering, that is limited by our short lifespan. The resurrection will make any suffering we had seem like a dream. But again, Him allowing this evil to happen is proving Satan a liar when he espoused that humans can make their own decisions independent of their Creator. If Jehovah had put his big foot down and stamped out the rebellion immediately, the accusations and assertions Satan made wouldn’t be answered. It might appear that Jehovah was hiding something or afraid of the charges leveled at Him. And apparently we’re at the tail-end of this epic from what bible prophecy indicates, so it won’t be too much longer.

        • I’ve heard a lot of excuses, and I do understand that we can’t know everything, but if God exists, he surely knows we will have to draw conclusions about his nature based upon what he has created. We obviously can’t draw good conclusions based on what we observe (conjoined twins, viruses, animals eating each other, etc.), so mankind goes about making up characters like Satan and pinning the blame on them, or somehow blaming man for the nature God has created. But why would a perfectly good God create anything that he knew would turn evil? Be it Satan or man? He wouldn’t. A perfectly good God would create nothing at all, or create beings that constantly desired to do good, and they would have no evil in them. Ergo no Satan, no fall of man. But God has created evil things, ergo God is evil (or does not exist). You cannot paint your own painting, and then blame it for turning out poorly.

          We might also try to reason that it’s okay for God to allow evil, because it’ll only last for a short time, but this is like saying, “Rape is okay if it doesn’t last for more than 3 minutes.” Is it? No, it will ALWAYS have been wrong to allow it, no matter how briefly it lasted. And for things like animals, suffering exists without reward.

          500Q

          • John Ross says:

            All that comes to mind is that you have a very sterile way of thinking about a Creator (if he exists as you say) like you’re trying to fit Him into your own mold or else he doesn’t exist. You’re saying that if a God exists, life would be like in some of those Star Trek episodes where they stumble on a world of people who know no evil and live in this utopian society…but of course Kirk found the fly in the ointment and it wasn’t so pretty after all – if you made a mistake you were vaporized (if i remember right).
            If you read the first part of the bible dealing with Israel your pink glasses would really be shattered finding out that Jehovah is far from the sentimental “loves everyone, will forgive everyone, it doesn’t matter how you worship” God many seem to envision. He directs bloody campaigns against pagan tribes having even children slaughtered. He hasn’t changed really and that side of Him will be exposed again at Armageddon having angels under Christ’s direction do the killing. This is a time of war – in a universal sense. No time for burying our head in the sand wishing things were like Star Trek.
            But envision this kind of society – one where people actually continue to do what is right toward each other out of love and not because part of their brain has been removed and act like zombies. That is the world we are moving towards, whether we approve or not. In the meantime, take a walk in a forest and take in the beauty – that will reveal the softer side of God (hopefully you don’t trip on a decaying deer carcass).

            • So God is kind of a jerk, but he’s is also love (1 John 4:8), makes sense.

              You seem to be agreeing with me, in that this isn’t the way the world SHOULD be, and so that’s why we’re headed toward a more perfect world. Great! But… why aren’t we there NOW? What’s the point of this painful exercise? Just so God can win a cosmic argument with Satan? Or so he can sort the good people from the bad (because he can’t make ONLY good ones for some reason)? In either case, God knows the outcome, so the experiment seems unnecessary.

              • johnrosstar says:

                I’d agree the outcome is obvious. Satan did decide to butt heads with someone infinitely more powerful and wiser than he. The fact he had the gall to try says a lot about the freedom that Jehovah gives his creation plus the beauty and intelligence he gifted angels to the point they could get so filled with themselves – over the massive amount of time that passed, some angels lost focus and put themselves at odds with their Father.
                But, they did what they did and there was no going back so Jehovah had to let things play out to their bitter end. The entire drama will set a legal precedent for all time to come. A big part of the legal challenge Satan brought against God was revealed in Job where Satan accused God of buying people’s affection and worship and that if he took that away from the righteous man Job, God would see that mankind can only have selfish motives and can’t really have true love for Him. So, even in that specific instance Jehovah allowed Satan to do his worst, killing Job’s family and devastating his wealth. Job kept his integrity and proved Satan a liar.
                That, plus the accusation made to Eve that Jehovah had no real authority or sovereignty over people and man could do just fine without God’d interference are the two main issues being settled.
                Jehovah is building a legal bulwark that will prevent massive disruptions in the future. So there will be a universe filled with sentient beings who although have the ability to rebel, don’t. And if they do, there will be a legal mechanism in place to deal with it. That’s the kind of person Jehovah wants, not lobotomized robots who can only perform according to a preset program. To me, that would be a much more dynamic place to live.
                Regarding Satan himself, the King of Tyre was acting in a similar haughty manner so Jehovah’s denunciation paralleled that of Satan and alluded to him in the prophecy:
                Ezek 28
                11 And the word of Jehovah again came to me, saying: 12 “Son of man, sing a dirge* concerning the king of Tyre, and tell him, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says:
                “You were the model of perfection,*
                Full of wisdom+ and perfect in beauty.+
                13 You were in E′den, the garden of God.
                You were adorned with every precious stone
                —Ruby, topaz, and jasper;
                chrys′o·lite, onyx, and jade; sapphire, turquoise,+ and emerald;
                And their settings and mountings were made of gold.
                They were prepared on the day you were created.
                14 I assigned you as the anointed covering cherub.
                You were on the holy mountain of God,+ and you walked about among fiery stones.
                15 You were faultless in your ways from the day you were created
                Until unrighteousness was found in you.+

                That last verse pretty much sums it up…the fault wasn’t in Jehovah’s creation but in the path chosen by the created.

  51. Grace says:

    God puts people in our lives to teach love, The scripture (1 John 4:8- Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.) If you were blessed with children who are conjoined, blind, or missing parts, how you you feel? Would you be angry? Would you have difficulty bonding with or loving them unconditionally? God does not make mistakes. People make mistakes, and God loves us so much he shows us love

  52. Highlander says:

    Phew. That was a marathon. Read every word of every comment, from Prayson and Penn’s arguments over the wording of the question to rautakyy’s amazing insight. Only took two days to get through two years of discussion. And it is a truly brilliant discussion… As are they all. 500Q you seem to attract some very thoughtful and intelligent people to your blog.

  53. ADS says:

    I’d be curious to know whether the concept of man-soul-spirit would change your analysis. As the Bible states that a soul is separate to the spirit. Soul being (inferred) the psyche and a material part of a person, whereas a spirit is immaterial and separate. So the souls would give personality to each twin (as the Greek implies- the makeup of man), but a spirit is what aids us to have a relationship with God. All living things have a soul (according to the Bible) and I guess it can be assumed any person with a viable psyche would have a soul then. The Bible also goes further to say that when we die both soul and spirit part from the body. Which further implies every person with a soul (psyche) has a spirit as they are able to seek God. Thoughts in terms of this? (I like your reasoning) (:

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know who you’re replying to but i’ll chime in on this. Actually the bible doesn’t teach that we have a separate soul. Ezek 18:4 The soul that is sinning will die.” When Adam was created, God breathed (spirit, he: ruah, gr.: pneuma, air, wind, breath) life into Adam “he became a living soul”, doesn’t say he was given one. He, we etc ARE souls. A soul is a body with the spirit of life in it. Since the energizing force of life comes from God, it says when we die, “the spirit returns to the true God who gave it”. There is nothing that survives death. Eccl 3 makes it quite plain that we have “the same eventuality as the beast, as one dies so the other dies”. What we strive to die with is a “good name” with God in that he remembers every aspect of our person so that he can resurrect us to life again in due time. The Jews certainly didn’t believe in a separate immortal soul, nor did they believe in a triune God but those mythologies along with eternal torment and idolatry were adopted into Christendom as part of the great corruption in Constantine’s era (it started before actually). At the risk of repeating myself, teachings such as these lock Christendom at the hip with other world religions that all make up Babylon The Great as referenced in Revelation. They are hallmark teachings of Satan’s ancient religious construct but have no place in true worship of Jehovah. Christendom and anyone who claims to be christian but supports false notions about Christ are “the Anti-Christ” (as opposed to some powerful individual ala Damien from The Omen that so many expect to see – or various versions of that idea). Think counterfeit christianity.
      Teachings of an immortal soul water down the necessary hope and need of a “resurrection”, i mean if you really don’t die at all then what point is there to a resurrection that Christ went to great trouble to demonstrate his authority over death. IF a person’s soul goes to Heaven right when they die, then why jerk them back to earth only to die again? Lazarus didn’t complain did he? I think i’d have complained if i had just gotten past the Pearly Gates and starting to enjoy the fluffy puffy vision of Heaven only to be booted right back out. The fact is, Lazarus had zero thoughts the same as anyone else that dies: “the dead are conscious of nothing at all” Eccl 9:5,10

  54. Cheryl B says:

    God always gets an out so he won’t be held responsible. It’s nature or Satan. And why does God get to pick and choose which prayers get answered? You read articles where people are claiming a miracle and thanking God or it was a guardian angel. I don’t get it. I try. I really do. God has a plan and everything happens for a reason, right? That child that was raped and murdered, is that a plan and is there a reason? Or is it the times when Satan was thrown down to earth to see if he can do so many horrible things that we turn against God? Didn’t God and Satan discuss this first and if so that means that we are all part of a game between them. Yes? No? That’s what I see and I don’t like it. I want to believe different. I need to find hope. Being promised eternal life in heaven IF and only if you believe doesn’t seem right. My brother and his wife think that my Dad is burning in hell because in his 81 years of life he didn’t follow the Bible the way they think it should be. He believed even through all the pain he suffered. He had a hard life and very easily he could have chosen another path. Yet he managed to make a home for his family that had much love in it. Was he really sent to hell to burn for all eternity? I want to have faith. but I’ve lost it. It’s funny tho I still turn to God when I need help. I still thank God for everything in my life. I pray to him to keep my family safe. I’m lost and confused.

    • Thanks Cheryl,

      You make a lot a good points. A few of my own thoughts on these subjects…

      It’s true that God never gets any of the blame, but this seems unfair, since God is ultimately responsible for creating all things. The credit for all good and evil must ultimately trace back to this source. Of course, if God doesn’t exist, then there really is no evil, just unfortunate events, and no gods to blame them on.

      As for prayer, this one gets me too. If a person says, “God has healed me of cancer,” then we must also infer that God has intentionally chosen NOT to answer the prayers of millions of others with cancer. What makes this one person so special? Or if another person says, “God saved my life in that horrible plane crash,” then we must infer that God chose to let everyone else die. By elevating one person’s status, we lesson everyone else’s.

      If God knows all things, then a contest between him and Satan would seem unnecessary. God could simply say, “If I DID create mankind, they would rebel, a bunch of suffering would result, and 58% would end up in hell.” There is no need to perform an experiment if you already know the outcome. God could’ve just created those who he knew wouldn’t rebel, or create all mankind in such a way that they would have no desire to rebel, or just not create mankind at all, if it meant he’d have to allow for some evil to exist.

      Still, there’s nothing wrong with being thankful for what you have. But if we’re going to thank God for what we have, then it’s only fair that we also blame him for what we lack.

      500Q

  55. johnrosstar says:

    The truth is somewhere in the middle actually. The real problem most people have understanding even the basic concept of God is their entire outlook is muddied by Greek mythologies such as the recurring reference to “burning in Hell” and/or predestination etc. You’d all do well to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall of JW’s to help get deprogrammed from that sticky web. If you’re going to hold onto those myths, you might as well be burning incense to Aries or whatever god you need a favor from or sacrificing your babies on a burning altar etc etc.
    The ultimate punishment Jehovah will meet out to persistent sinners is simply extinguishing their life as in forever. Then of course, people are again infected by belief in an immortal soul which would seem to negate that – another myth grafted onto a corrupt Christianity.
    The bible doesn’t teach these concepts.
    My main point is that you can’t really get a good grasp of God’s motivations or intentions or personality if you’re looking through a shattered glass that’s reflecting everything but what your’e trying to see.
    Attend the meetings at your local Kingdom Hall and accept a bible study and you’ll get a clear view of what’s what.
    There is a fabulous future in store for people of faith; faith based on accurate knowledge.

    • Hi johnrosstar,

      “Attend the meetings at your local _____ and accept a bible study and you’ll get a clear view of what’s what.”

      With all due respect sir, this has been said by EVERY Christian denomination over the past 2000 years! And they ALL believed that only THEY had the truth, because of some special prophet, knowledge, or event, or a “more informed” view of scripture.

      As a Pentecostal, I too believed WE were closest to the truth; we believed that all other churches were “dead” because THEY didn’t have the holy spirit moving in them, as evidenced by tongues and other signs. We all have our reasons for defending what we believe.

      So is it true that you or I just happened to stumble upon the REAL truth? Seeing as how ALL believers in ALL denominations believe this to be true, it seems more statistically probable that we have not found the real truth (regardless of what denomination we belong to), we only BELIEVE we have the truth for all the aforementioned reasons.

      Even if we assume that the JW’s nailed it and got everything right (well… except those failed prophecies about the end times, which were NOT perfect… but EVERYTHING ELSE was definitely interpreted correctly), that would mean that 99.9% of the planet has gotten it wrong. Doesn’t that seem a little presumptuous? That the JWs are smarter than the rest of the world? That God has blessed only them? That only the JWs cared enough to figure it out? Even if this is true, it means that God has done a pretty lousy job of disseminating his truth over the years.

      But I still give you props for being here and reading this post. I know the JWs sometimes frown upon reading contesting material or socializing with people outside their own church, so I give you credit for challenging yourself.

      Take care,
      500Q

      • johnrosstar says:

        You make good points. Sure, one would think that people attend their church of choice because it seems to hold up to scrutiny. Usually though, that’s not really the case; at least not from my experience. Many when challenged slam the door in your face, literally – because their beliefs are simply that vulnerable…or vague actually. That’s why Satan’s first large pill is belief in an immortal soul. If you really never die, then why worry that much about sussing out the truth if it’s going to rock the boat? Just figure out in the next life, right? So Satan has you willingly numbed for further large enemas of falsehood.
        Going door-to-door, that’s been the most popular retort: “we’re all going to the same place and worship the same God, that’s all that matters – have a nice day”. As far as numbers go, or percentages which you refer to, Christ said, “most are on the road to everlasting destruction whereas cramped and narrow is the road to life and few are the ones finding it.”………ring a bell?
        When it comes down to it, our Creator isn’t as sentimental about individuals as Christendom paints him. It’s up to us to put up a struggle for salvation – you know, as in “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”….in other words, show we do care. Not by fits of emotion or like your Pentecostals are good at, behaving in an outlandish manner.
        Yes, “God loves mankind” but when it comes to individuals, that’s another matter. He has made sure that mankind will be saved…..in general. If we want to be ‘on that boat’ we have to put forth effort…..learn, study, challenge what we are being taught and of course pray incessantly and etc etc.
        There’s an illustratory vision recorded in Ezekiel 9 that displays God’s attitude….then Israel was falling into bad practices like weeping over the god Tammuz (whose symbol was the cross incidentally) and practicing immorality (temple prostitutes), so God had one man go through them marking only those “sighing and groaning over the detestable things being done”, then he was followed up by a group of men with “weapons for smashing in their hands” and they executed all those who didn’t have the mark. So it’s up to us to carry a figurative mark in our forehead – a disposition towards what is right. God notices!
        Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t the only people who will inherit salvation. They do though serve as sort of a legal instrument for Jehovah to put the nations on notice before He acts. it’s like putting a legal notice in the newspaper for several weeks before impending judgement is taken at the local courthouse. In this case, Jehovah is giving over 100 years of declarations before he shuts down the present govts, replacing them with Christ’ righteous rule.
        Of course, they too are quite different from other religions because they’ve been cleansed of the mythologies and pagan traditions that were grafted onto Christendom by among others, Constantine. Christianity in the first couple 100 years was light years different than the perverse monstrosity that it morphed into later – known as the Great Apostasy – with influence of the anti-Christ/s {think counterfeit Christianity}.
        Incidentally, i was raised in the RLDS (Mormon related) church and then made a change later in adulthood. I also studied Eastern religions in college for time as i searched for truth.

        • Garbonzo says:

          > “any when challenged slam the door in your face, literally – because their beliefs are simply that vulnerable…or vague actually.”

          Hi John,

          I’d be glad to have a friendly discussion with you on this matter.

          I’ve talked with a couple JWs before on the internet, and they did the digital “slamming the door in my face” by not responding to me or insulting me with “being judged by Jehovah at Armageddon”, instead of actually responding to the points I’ve introduced. Hopefully this discussion can be different. =)

          > and they executed all those who didn’t have the mark.

          If you think about that carefully, does that seem like something a loving God would do? Could those people not have repented and changed their ways later on in life? As an ex-Christian, I used to believe things like this were justified because God would never make a mistaken to begin with…alright. So if God can never make a mistake, and can see into the future if he wants to, then why doesn’t he just execute people today like he did in the Old Testament? It would certainly make things easier on us. Even in the Old Testament, God’s powers seem to be used quite randomly. Okay, so he has the power to execute people, and uses it often, yet he still lets the Israelites have judges and carry out their own justice. Why can’t HE just do everything? Like I said, it would make things a lot easier.

          Okay, so now we come to the New Testament and God doesn’t use his powers to execute people much or at all (can’t think of any off the top of my head, but there could be). Why the change? SUPPOSEDLY, it’s because Jesus died for our sins and now that somehow gives us more “leeway” with God, so God isn’t as “angry” (?) with us. We have a chance to repent and turn around from our wicked ways, whereas the guys in the Old Testament didn’t have that privilege. But wait a minute, doesn’t this *imply* that being able to repent (NT) is different than not being able to repent (OT)? But I thought God can never make a mistake? That he could see that whoever he killed was never going to change their ways?

          It’s a bit of a predicament. Jesus died for our sins, and we have to show that is somehow significant (besides granting us life) in the way of being able to repent now without an animal sacrifice, and some leeway time in changing our ways, yet if we make that difference, then that makes it so that the Old Testament God was cruel in executing people without giving them a chance to repent.

          I mean, heck, even *imperfect human* legal systems of this modern era are much more sympathetic and moral than instant execution! Don’t we prefer rehabilitation instead of revenge justice and punishment? “An eye for an eye” is viewed as Barbaric nowadays. So wouldn’t God’s chosen people have a more moral and perfect system? After all, Christians live to bring up God giving the Israelites special knowledge, such as knowing the Earth was round (not that the Bible actually says that, but Christians love to repeat it as evidence God was with Israel), and that it hangs upon nothing, or the knowledge that certain animals were bad for you (there are some great articles on this website’s index page that goes into this further), etc. So if Christians claim that God gave the Israelites all of this knowledge, then the *least* he could do is give them a somewhat moral legal system, right???

          You can say that Israel’s barbaric legal system was a product of it’s time, and you wouldn’t be wrong, Israel may even have been progressive in those days. But that doesn’t come close to being an excuse for having such an immoral legal system for today’s standards. Are we trying to say that God somehow couldn’t give them a better legal system? So if he could, then why didn’t he?

          Time is no excuse. We can see that rehabilitation is objectively better than how the Israelites did it. If God intervened into human matters back then, there’s no reason he couldn’t have done this.

          Unless you can come up with a reason?

          There are many things that are barbaric in the old testament, including rape (http://i.imgur.com/5UPls.jpg) and slavery (of course you know this, but we all “justified” it since God knows what’s best, when in actuality, slavery is *never* okay), but I’m not going to write a whole essay on this right now. I feel like I’ve already written too much, and I don’t want to scare you away! =) But I do want to mention just one other thing:

          http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2006/08/who-has-killed-more-satan-or-god.html

          Why would the Bible have such a disparity between the amount of people a supposedly loving God killed vs. the unloving, manipulative Satan The Devil? I mean, no matter HOW you slice it, that’s a HUGE number difference there! It wouldn’t seem right to anyone. If you gave this list to the child and asked them to pick who they thought the bad guy is, they’d either say God, or BOTH (and rightfully so, based just on paper). So why would God do this? If he’s real then he MUST have known how bad this would look!

          But alas, this actually makes sense if you realize that Yahweh, or Jehovah was actually the WAR god of the Israelites before they became monotheistic. You can view this in an easy to digest video on the subject:

          Note, that this video is based on the Christian historian Karen Armstrong’s work, and book on this matter, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So this isn’t “atheist propaganda”. Look into the evidence for it yourself. =)

          > “Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t the only people who will inherit salvation.”

          But at Armageddon JWs teach that only Jehovah’s Witnesses will make it through. It’s right in their literature. Of course, non JWs will still be resurrected, but only JWs have a hope of actually seeing through Armageddon:

          “**Only Jehovah’s Witnesses**, those of the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, **have any Scriptural hope of surviving** the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil.” Watchtower 1989 Sep 1 p.19

          “During the final period of the ancient world that perished in the Flood, Noah was a faithful preacher of righteousness. (2 Peter 2:5) In these last days of the present system of things, Jehovahs people are making known Gods righteous standards and are declaring good news about the possibility of surviving into the new world. (2 Peter 3:9-13) Just as Noah and his God-fearing family were preserved in the ark, **survival of individuals today depends on their faith and their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovahs universal organization.**” Watchtower 2006 May 15 p.22 “Are You Prepared for Survival?”

          I just used Google.

          So all the people that didn’t get to be preached to? Too bad! You die! That’s what’s teached…. And children are considered to share in the sins of their parents, so babies, and children will die at Armageddon. Does that seem right?

          I’m open and curious as to what your justifications for this is, though. =)

          > “In this case, Jehovah is giving over 100 years of declarations before he shuts down the present govts, replacing them with Christ’ righteous rule.”

          For how long? Thousands of people are suffering and starving everyday based on some arbitrary timeframe that God has? Why doesn’t he end the suffering and death as soon as possible? There’s no logical explanation for this. JWs have told me it’s so that God’s word will be spread in all the Earth, but this is impossible. There can be no JWs in N. Korea for instance, and many other places where they are banned. There may be some JWs in banned areas (not likely in N. Korea though at all), but their preaching work is made almost useless by the ban. Even if you start to think that maybe these bans will be lifted (We’re already looking at a LONG time for that, so Armageddon cannot feasibly be “just around the corner” or soon. Even if N. Korea got dismantled within 3 years, it’d take at least 20 years for JWs to come in and set up shop and preach to everyone, and that’s lowballing things.), it’s still impossible at Jehovah’s Witnesess current growth rate compared to the world’s birth rate. On average, over 200,000 people are born everyday, but the number of active Jehovah’s Witnesses increases by only 224 (2005 daily increase in average publishers, it hasn’t risen by a hundred thousand between then, so no need for up to date figures). Each day that Armageddon delays requires Jehovah to destroy an extra 200,000 people or so….

          I thought Jehovah was supposed to be speeding up the preaching work in the end times? Maybe we aren’t in the end times then? Or maybe the whole thing is moving the goal posts? There’s been people throughout history that thought the world was ending “soon”. Many by the JWs themselves. They thought the world would end in some time in the 1800s, they thought it would end in 1914, 1918, a few other times, and of course 1975. You would think God’s people would KNOW better when the Bible says that no man will know the day or the hour. Why would God let that happen?

          I’ve had a JW say something about “the light getting brighter”. I’m not sure I see the relevance (God should have the brightest light to begin with), but just for fun, I found this quite ironic quote from the founder, Charles Taze Russell himself.

          “If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now;… But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. “New Light” never extinguishes older “light” but **adds** to it…” Zion’s Watch Tower 1881 Feb pp.3,188

          > Of course, they too are quite different from other religions because they’ve been cleansed of the mythologies and pagan traditions that were grafted onto Christendom by among others, Constantine.

          Let me ask, do JWs have cakes at their weddings? How about wedding rings? Did you know both of those things are pagan? Heck, besides that, you’ve probably done many pagan rituals without ever knowing it! It’s IMPOSSIBLE to truly 100% get away from everything pagan. Isn’t it better to focus on the present than the past? All I’m saying is that it’s pretty hypocritical to ban some pagan things and not others. =/

          > “Christianity in the first couple 100 years was light years different than the perverse monstrosity that it morphed into later – known as the Great Apostasy – with influence of the anti-Christ/s {think counterfeit Christianity}.”

          Have you heard of the Ethiopian Christian Church that basically grew independently from the rest of Christianity? If anything THAT would represent the closet to how it was 100 years after Jesus’ death, but that’s just me.

          > “Incidentally, i was raised in the RLDS (Mormon related) church and then made a change later in adulthood. I also studied Eastern religions in college for time as i searched for truth.”

          It’s really great that you are being open minded about all of this. =) Have you looked into atheism at all?

          Sorry for typing such a long comment, haha! There’s a lot up in my head. =P

          Thanks!

          • johnrosstar says:

            Garbonzo says:
            January 14, 2014 at 4:38 PM

            > “any when challenged slam the door in your face, literally – because their beliefs are simply that vulnerable…or vague actually.”

            Hi John,

            I’d be glad to have a friendly discussion with you on this matter.

            I’ve talked with a couple JWs before on the internet, and they did the digital “slamming the door in my face” by not responding to me or

            insulting me with “being judged by Jehovah at Armageddon”, instead of actually responding to the points I’ve introduced. Hopefully this

            discussion can be different. =)

            > and they executed all those who didn’t have the mark.

            If you think about that carefully, does that seem like something a loving God would do? Could those people not have repented and changed

            their ways later on in life? As an ex-Christian, I used to believe things like this were justified because God would never make a

            mistaken to begin with…alright. So if God can never make a mistake, and can see into the future if he wants to, then why doesn’t he just

            execute people today like he did in the Old Testament? It would certainly make things easier on us. Even in the Old Testament, God’s

            powers seem to be used quite randomly. Okay, so he has the power to execute people, and uses it often, yet he still lets the Israelites

            have judges and carry out their own justice. Why can’t HE just do everything? Like I said, it would make things a lot easier.

            *******If you remember, Jonah was instructed to deliver Jehovah’s condemnatory judgement upon the city of Nineveh (Assyria), after first

            trying to dodge the mission (i could just imagine his fright), Jonah did deliver the message. Surprisingly, these blood-thirsty citizens

            took him seriously and actually repented. Jehovah decided to withold the destruction then taught Jonah a lesson demonstrating his

            compassion upon these otherwise ignorant people. So i take exception to your notion that Jehovah’s acts were random or without reason.

            When he did go through with some destruction, it was always well deserved (albeit, maybe not from your vantage point).*******

            Okay, so now we come to the New Testament and God doesn’t use his powers to execute people much or at all (can’t think of any off the top

            of my head, but there could be). Why the change? SUPPOSEDLY, it’s because Jesus died for our sins and now that somehow gives us more

            “leeway” with God, so God isn’t as “angry” (?) with us. We have a chance to repent and turn around from our wicked ways, whereas the guys

            in the Old Testament didn’t have that privilege. But wait a minute, doesn’t this *imply* that being able to repent (NT) is different than

            not being able to repent (OT)? But I thought God can never make a mistake? That he could see that whoever he killed was never going to

            change their ways?
            *******see my above comment…and remember Pharoah was given plenty of opportunity to back down before Jah finally killed him. Jesus

            Christ does provide sort of a buffer between us and Jehovah as an intercessor so possibly you’re not way off in your line of reason. As

            JC said, “you must be perfect as your heavenly FAther is perfect”, so it’s not like the standard is lowered but we are given time to get

            things right.*******

            It’s a bit of a predicament. Jesus died for our sins, and we have to show that is somehow significant (besides granting us life) in the

            way of being able to repent now without an animal sacrifice, and some leeway time in changing our ways, yet if we make that difference,

            then that makes it so that the Old Testament God was cruel in executing people without giving them a chance to repent.
            *******again, see my first comment*******

            I mean, heck, even *imperfect human* legal systems of this modern era are much more sympathetic and moral than instant execution! Don’t

            we prefer rehabilitation instead of revenge justice and punishment? “An eye for an eye” is viewed as Barbaric nowadays. So wouldn’t God’s

            chosen people have a more moral and perfect system? After all, Christians live to bring up God giving the Israelites special knowledge,

            such as knowing the Earth was round (not that the Bible actually says that, but Christians love to repeat it as evidence God was with

            Israel), and that it hangs upon nothing, or the knowledge that certain animals were bad for you (there are some great articles on this

            website’s index page that goes into this further), etc. So if Christians claim that God gave the Israelites all of this knowledge, then

            the *least* he could do is give them a somewhat moral legal system, right???

            You can say that Israel’s barbaric legal system was a product of it’s time, and you wouldn’t be wrong, Israel may even have been

            progressive in those days. But that doesn’t come close to being an excuse for having such an immoral legal system for today’s standards.

            Are we trying to say that God somehow couldn’t give them a better legal system? So if he could, then why didn’t he?

            Time is no excuse. We can see that rehabilitation is objectively better than how the Israelites did it. If God intervened into human

            matters back then, there’s no reason he couldn’t have done this.

            Unless you can come up with a reason?

            There are many things that are barbaric in the old testament, including rape and slavery (of course you know this, but we all “justified”

            it since God knows what’s best, when in actuality, slavery is *never* okay), but I’m not going to write a whole essay on this right now.

            I feel like I’ve already written too much, and I don’t want to scare you away! =) But I do want to mention just one other thing:

            *******As i’ve come to learn, the Mosaic Law Code was a perfect system. It served to highlight mankind’s inborn sinful nature. That if

            they wanted a relationship with their Creator, they had to come to grips with the real problem Adam handed to them in the form of

            jacked-up DNA. We are extremely degraded from the quite durable form we were first given. Aside from not being able to live over 900

            years like the first generations did, we can’t live life without sinning. These issues go hand in hand, perfect health and longevity

            will be enjoyed as we make strides towards our original perfection and that will start with taming our own behaviours (as you’re familiar

            with our hope evidently, you’ll know i’m referring to life during the millenial reign of Christ over this earth).
            Back to the Mosaic Law Covenant. Slavery was an economic model at the time and worked quite well to keep people out of poverty. Of

            course, people living now can only invision black slavery in the US and that’s not a fair comparison. There were a lot of protections

            given slaves in the Law. They were also to be set free after a time unless they genuinely wanted to stay with their master. Whites in

            this country had indentured servitude which was a closer type of ‘slavery’ one could look at as an example.
            Rape was condemned in the bible but Jah was practical when it came to certain situations. Now, a woman might claim her husband

            “raped” her if he slips it to her while she’s asleep. Whether you agree with that or not, it demonstrates how views can change over

            time.
            Again, it was a perfect law but not easy to keep by imperfect people. I really like the aspect of it that they did not imprison

            people; if they stole they paid back restitution to the victim plus a bonus, not tossed in prison to be lay around while supported by tax

            payers. Lawyers didn’t have the system tied up for their own benefit. If someone was truly a danger to society, they were stoned to

            death. They didn’t mess around back then. I don’t see the problem really…it was a great system.
            The bottom line though, is that Jehovah doesn’t intend to have some never-ending system in place with a long list of requirements etc

            etc etc. Christ taught that the Golden Rule essentially replaced the entire Law Covenant that he fulfilled in their behalf. The bible

            teaches of the “glorious freedom of the sons of God” that will eventually be enjoyed by all then living. He really is “the Happy God”

            but he doesn’t entertain or tolerate fools.*******

            Why would the Bible have such a disparity between the amount of people a supposedly loving God killed vs. the unloving, manipulative

            Satan The Devil? I mean, no matter HOW you slice it, that’s a HUGE number difference there! It wouldn’t seem right to anyone. If you gave

            this list to the child and asked them to pick who they thought the bad guy is, they’d either say God, or BOTH (and rightfully so, based

            just on paper). So why would God do this? If he’s real then he MUST have known how bad this would look!

            *******In actuality, responsibility for the death of every single person who ever existed can be laid at the feet of Satan. “He was a

            manslayer when he began”. He influenced the first couple to rebel against Jehovah through lies and slander. “Sin entered the world

            through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because they all had sinned”.*****

            But alas, this actually makes sense if you realize that Yahweh, or Jehovah was actually the WAR god of the Israelites before they became

            monotheistic. You can view this in an easy to digest video on the subject:

            Note, that this video is based on the Christian historian Karen Armstrong’s work, and book on this matter, A History of God: The 4,000-

            Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So this isn’t “atheist propaganda”. Look into the evidence for it yourself. =)

            > “Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t the only people who will inherit salvation.”

            But at Armageddon JWs teach that only Jehovah’s Witnesses will make it through. It’s right in their literature. Of course, non JWs will

            still be resurrected, but only JWs have a hope of actually seeing through Armageddon:

            “**Only Jehovah’s Witnesses**, those of the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” as a united organization under the protection of the

            Supreme Organizer, **have any Scriptural hope of surviving** the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil.”

            Watchtower 1989 Sep 1 p.19

            “During the final period of the ancient world that perished in the Flood, Noah was a faithful preacher of righteousness. (2 Peter 2:5) In

            these last days of the present system of things, Jehovahs people are making known Gods righteous standards and are declaring good news

            about the possibility of surviving into the new world. (2 Peter 3:9-13) Just as Noah and his God-fearing family were preserved in the

            ark, **survival of individuals today depends on their faith and their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovahs universal

            organization.**” Watchtower 2006 May 15 p.22 “Are You Prepared for Survival?”

            I just used Google.

            So all the people that didn’t get to be preached to? Too bad! You die! That’s what’s teached…. And children are considered to share in

            the sins of their parents, so babies, and children will die at Armageddon. Does that seem right?

            I’m open and curious as to what your justifications for this is, though. =)

            ****The scriptures do give that impression; “the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved” and many more examples exist. And as you refer, “there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous”. There seems to be a demarcation between those who die in a time of judgement being directly executed by Jehovah’s angels (and those who have died through the ages). Remember, Christ himself is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse seen with a long sword extruding from his mouth (symbolic of divine judgement being voiced and carried out). This vision doesn’t come from your ‘OT’ either, but A Revelation. Also, “in that day the wicked will certainly act wickedly”, so evidently right before THE END, the situation will be so deplorable on earth that anyone left alive will either be obviously righteous or obviously wicked and nasty. All one has to do is watch a few Katy Perry videos to realize we’re on the downhill slide already.*****

            > “In this case, Jehovah is giving over 100 years of declarations before he shuts down the present govts, replacing them with Christ’

            righteous rule.”

            For how long? Thousands of people are suffering and starving everyday based on some arbitrary timeframe that God has? Why doesn’t he end

            the suffering and death as soon as possible? There’s no logical explanation for this. JWs have told me it’s so that God’s word will be

            spread in all the Earth, but this is impossible. There can be no JWs in N. Korea for instance, and many other places where they are

            banned. There may be some JWs in banned areas (not likely in N. Korea though at all), but their preaching work is made almost useless by

            the ban. Even if you start to think that maybe these bans will be lifted (We’re already looking at a LONG time for that, so Armageddon

            cannot feasibly be “just around the corner” or soon. Even if N. Korea got dismantled within 3 years, it’d take at least 20 years for JWs

            to come in and set up shop and preach to everyone, and that’s lowballing things.), it’s still impossible at Jehovah’s Witnesess current

            growth rate compared to the world’s birth rate. On average, over 200,000 people are born everyday, but the number of active Jehovah’s

            Witnesses increases by only 224 (2005 daily increase in average publishers, it hasn’t risen by a hundred thousand between then, so no

            need for up to date figures). Each day that Armageddon delays requires Jehovah to destroy an extra 200,000 people or so….

            *****We used to have the same concerns about Russia and China but the work is moving ahead quite well there now. With the use of the internets (helloooo), the ‘word’ could possibly reach more righteously inclined souls in an efficient manner. There was a case where the Apostle Paul was being hindered by the Holy Spirit to go to a certain region. Then once Christ appeared in a vision telling them to skip over into this other area, “for i have many people there” (honest-hearted individuals that would be open to the message). Some ‘people’ might simply be a waste of time to be quite frank about it…but that’s not my call, thank goodness!*****

            I thought Jehovah was supposed to be speeding up the preaching work in the end times? Maybe we aren’t in the end times then? Or maybe the

            whole thing is moving the goal posts? There’s been people throughout history that thought the world was ending “soon”. Many by the JWs

            themselves. They thought the world would end in some time in the 1800s, they thought it would end in 1914, 1918, a few other times, and

            of course 1975. You would think God’s people would KNOW better when the Bible says that no man will know the day or the hour. Why would

            God let that happen?

            ****Right…my own brother throws that in my face every time we have this conversation but i can see where he’s coming from. What relieves my mind about that is the time Peter asked Christ, “are you restoring the Kingdom to Israel at this time?” So here the disciples had been daily following Jesus for years at this point and they still didn’t have a clear understanding of how things were going to go down. That’s what all the Jews assumed Christ would do – whip the Romans back to Rome and be a bigger, shinier version of King David.
            Christ told them only what the needed to know at the time, “it does not belong to you to know times or seasons which God has placed in his own jurisdiction”. So, yea…there have been times when some JW’s got ahead of themselves about certain years. They were chronological mile-posts according to scriptures but they attached way more meaning than they deserved. Ok, so what – we have a few Presumptuous Peters pop up once in awhile. They are guilty of this: “awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.”
            “keeping close in mind” is a translation of the greek word ‘speudo’ which means to urge, speed, hasten or await eagerly.
            So yea, there is a sense of urgency among the Witnesses which can seem hard to understand but whenever it all hits the fan, that’s it – this past 100 years will then seem like a quite short period when viewed through the spyglass of history. ******

            I’ve had a JW say something about “the light getting brighter”. I’m not sure I see the relevance (God should have the brightest light to

            begin with), but just for fun, I found this quite ironic quote from the founder, Charles Taze Russell himself.

            “If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which

            was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now;… But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of

            turning, and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can

            contradict a former truth. “New Light” never extinguishes older “light” but **adds** to it…” Zion’s Watch Tower 1881 Feb pp.3,188

            *****Well, CT Russell also thought there was a correlation between the Great Pyramids and biblical prophecy which turned out to be a dry hole. He wasn’t a prophet nor are any of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Truth doesn’t change but what we can see of it had advanced over the decades, no doubt about that.******

            > Of course, they too are quite different from other religions because they’ve been cleansed of the mythologies and pagan traditions that

            were grafted onto Christendom by among others, Constantine.

            Let me ask, do JWs have cakes at their weddings? How about wedding rings? Did you know both of those things are pagan? Heck, besides

            that, you’ve probably done many pagan rituals without ever knowing it! It’s IMPOSSIBLE to truly 100% get away from everything pagan.

            Isn’t it better to focus on the present than the past? All I’m saying is that it’s pretty hypocritical to ban some pagan things and not

            others. =/

            *****Right, not every custom was started and made holy by ye olde Hebrews…doesn’t mean they are inherently wicked but you have a good point. Hey man, we’re not perfect YET :D *****

            > “Christianity in the first couple 100 years was light years different than the perverse monstrosity that it morphed into later – known

            as the Great Apostasy – with influence of the anti-Christ/s {think counterfeit Christianity}.”

            Have you heard of the Ethiopian Christian Church that basically grew independently from the rest of Christianity? If anything THAT would

            represent the closet to how it was 100 years after Jesus’ death, but that’s just me.

            > “Incidentally, i was raised in the RLDS (Mormon related) church and then made a change later in adulthood. I also studied Eastern

            religions in college for time as i searched for truth.”

            It’s really great that you are being open minded about all of this. =) Have you looked into atheism at all?

            Sorry for typing such a long comment, haha! There’s a lot up in my head. =P

            Thanks!

            *****No problem, I enjoy the discussion as well! Atheism?… I’ve reasoned through the concept of evolution and of course had to study it and pass tests about it in college but i honestly see so many holes in it, that i have no problem accepting that God’s creative acts “evolved” over the millenia and provide an adequate explanation for the geologic/fossil record and it’s abundant “missing links”.

  56. Jesus Jones says:

    I dont think God would create conjoined twins. What you failed to say is that Lucifer wanted them born that way. Satan can create in humans birth defects like downs syndrome,blindness,deafness,etc. God does not make people with disabilities, the devils make them that way through the iniquity of our original sin of conceit, which is a evil spirit.

    • Garbonzo says:

      I’m curious, did you actually read the article, or did you read the title, scroll through it, and come down and make a comment??? Because this is answered in the article! =)

      Patience!

  57. Cheng says:

    I am a new believer and I came to the same question when i was sorting my thoughts out. I feel real seeker of truth would eventually come to these kind of problems if he is sincere about what he believes, not like those who are just born to the religion and take it no more than religion, lost the ability of thinking, blind to what’s happening in real world.
    I do acknowledge there are facts indicating a random meaningless world without purpose,Conjoined twins are just one of many. It almost implies that even there was a God, He is not caring anymore. If Life ever had a meaning, it went down hill eversince.
    I was in that mood sometimes. But often later i come to learn incidents showing divine intervetion and care.
    Now it comes to what do we choose. See, we have both the good and the bad.
    Do we fully explore the worst case and abandon hope?
    One of the best human quality, hope, it often bares us through hardship. Do we give helpless smile and throw it away?
    No we don’t. we embrace it. we live to it.

    • Garbonzo says:

      What “incidents showing divine intervetion (sic) and care” have you seen? Can you go into more detail here please?

      Why do we need to believe in God in order to have hope? Do you believe in the Christian God or any god? If you believe in the Christian God, why not believe in Allah or Krishna instead?

      I have lots of hope without believing in a god. In fact, I have MORE hope now that I did when I was a believer. Have you read the link at the top of the page, “Is there life after God?” and some of the comments on that page?

      Thanks, and have a good day. =)

      • Cheng says:

        Thanks for replying. i’m surprised there still be someone reading post here.
        As “incidents showing divine intervetion”, it’s all personal incidents like sending paycheck that should not be paid to me at the time i need money most or calling my names in radio…I do know it sounds fishy to others but being in those moments and atmosphere i felt a strong intent behind. Only those few moments. it doesnt happen often.
        I do know there are theory saying when your attention is focused on certain things it tends to feel more often for those things to happen. i know it could be all accidents. I am struggling with it myself. Believe me i am not zeal of defending a certain religion…i want to know the answer too.
        Currently reading through the other post you talked about. hoping a new angle to look at these things.
        Safety and peace:)

        • Garbonzo says:

          Hi, yes, I know what you mean. I’m an agnostic atheist (as most atheists are) and those things happen to me all the time. For instance, I got a call from a police officer telling me if I didn’t pay some old fines within a week he would come arrest me. The total was $267.63. It was about 2 weeks before Christmas so I was really sweating it. The very next day I got a check in the mail for EXACTLY $267.63 for overpaid child support throughout the year!

          It’s amazing, and whether by plain chance, or the universe looking kindly on us, I think it’s safe to assume a belief in god is not necessary to receive such gifts or miracles. =)

          This is further evidenced because people from ALL types of religions experience miracles and coincidences such as this. Muslims attribute it to Allah, Buddhists attribute it to Karma, etc.

          So it would seem that EVERY human experiences this, no matter what our beliefs are.

          Just be a good person, be humble, always searching for truth, and do the best you can in life. That’s all we can do with ourselves.

          Peace be with you also. =)

  58. KaiRen_24 says:

    God has no fault for this. Yes God may know that this and that will happen and He’ll give us warnings and etc. The parents of those children is also the one at fault. Maybe they disregarded God’s warnings and everything. Remember when a mother has a child on her womb there are things that you mustn’t do because it may affect the baby inside you. People are the one who are making the decisions here, God is there to give us warnings and other ways but the decisions are chosen by us. Maybe some parents really took care of their babies in their wombs and ended up having children like that. They may be a very good follower of Christ but their babies ended up like that. It sure is some of God’s way to give you trials in life and how you’ll going to run it. In His Second Coming there might be a big surprise waiting there for you. He’ll heal your children. Of course God is hurt to see His people hurting. That’s why He gives us warnings but then Satan is at work and we sometimes tend on listening to Satan, that’s why some of this happens. Keep on trusting God. Have faith. God loves us. <3

    • Garbonzo says:

      If you can’t see how SICK it is to TORTURE an INNOCENT BABY because “God is giving you a trial”, or worse yet because they “disregarded God’s warnings”, then you are such a blind and immoral person, there is no sense in reasoning with you.

    • L says:

      Let’s say you love someone. But they don’t see you. You’re hurt by this, so you send them signs. They still don’t see you. So you inflict their child, an innocent being, with a life of suffering, just to punish the parent. OH, and you do this to animals too. DUDE- those are the actions of a deranged stalker, not a God I’d ever want to worship.
      You might say god doesn’t “inflict” the child with some terrible deformity, rather the deformity happens because the person did something they shouldn’t have during the pregnancy… But we know what to do during pregnancy- take vitamins, don’t drink alcohol, etc. the birth defects in this blog post are ones that happened without environmental influences though, they happened because of the way our genes/DNA/cells work. Environmental influences, on the other hand, affect the poor- who can’t afford enough food, who don’t have access to health care. Are you saying all people who are suffering in the world today deserve it? What a terrible, hateful thing to believe. OH, but some of them are just suffering because god wanted to send them a test? So to “test” someone, it’s ok to inflict someone else with a life of pain..? You say they get healed later, but there’s no cure for having two heads- at least not one that keeps both individuals alive. Does god make it up to them in heaven? He’s like “sorry I made your life on earth miserable, and a lot shorter than most of my people.. But you’re in heaven now!” But every one of gods people gets to heaven- do the ones who suffered more get an extra comfy cloud to sit on? Funny, statistically speaking, god treats the ones who don’t heed his warnings and the ones he wants to test in exactly the same way, and at the same rate- atheists don’t have a higher rate of birth defects, cancer, illness, etc., than devout Christians. Gosh, it’s almost like god doesn’t exist.

      • Garbonzo says:

        Thank you, L, for a much more thorough and level-headed response than mine. If I could delete my comment, I would, because you fulfilled that purpose. Great response!

      • johnrosstar says:

        According to your theory, mankind rejected God’s sovereignty over them when they accepted Satan’s offer of independence BUT God should maintain the human race and not allow any horrible issues like deformities to occur. That’s like you renting a home you’ve built to someone who refuses to pay the rent after the first month saying you have no authority over them but you will continue to keep the lights on, fix problems with the house etc. because that’s simply how you roll. You’re a better man than God it would seem. Can we worship you?

        • Garbonzo says:

          Since when did babies and children reject God’s sovereignty and accept Satan’s offer of independence? Heck, I haven’t heard of adults doing that either. The only thing that says anyone did is a old book thousands of years old. Why should we believe it?

          And just because a supposed God made up a story that somehow excuses his moral obligations doesn’t mean that actually excuses him of moral blight.

          You are actually comparing the suffering and deaths of babies to rent? What kind of sick person does that? Any moral human being would do everything they can to prevent innocent lives from being shed, you would think a God would be even more invested and moral.

          • johnrosstar says:

            Renters have kids. Are you as a landlord going to evict the parents but tell them you’ll take their kinds into your home because they shouldn’t suffer living in the streets? Parents are responsible for their kids. A lot of idiots who have no business having kids keep breeding and are really good at it btw, but so are dogs and cats. The kids grow up in squalor but it’s YOUR FAULT you kicked their parents out of your house!
            That’s how much sense you make.
            The reality of it is that Jehovah has made provision to redeem a portion of mankind from this wretched condition and bless them with perfect health and unending life. But only those who are willing to reject worldliness and exercise faith in his appointed King Jesus Christ will be included. Millions or billions will be resurrected and given an education and a chance to live accordingly. Whatever they suffered in their previous short life will be long forgotten.
            So, yea…..for now it’s an ugly world but in the big picture it’s of comparatively short duration. At least our suffering is limited to our short lifespan AND we only have to die once. One day our time of suffering will be seen in a layer of rock that will only be a very thin sliver in the history of the earth. God thinks on a geologic time scale. We have to be a bit patient to let things work out.

            • Garbonzo says:

              Yes, I don’t care who you are, if you see kids dying you have a moral obligation to help all you can, even if you don’t have a legal one. Especially if it were as easy as God has it. It’s comparable to a billionaire not wanting to spend $100 on a vaccine for a kid dying right in front of him.

              It also wouldn’t be right for that billionaire to say, “Oh, let him suffer for a few minutes, it’ll be alright at a later point in time when I’ll give him the vaccine. But not now.” People would look at him like he is crazy (and rightly so), “Why don’t you give the vaccine to the child NOW instead of waiting? There is NO purpose you could have to waiting, sir! Give it to him now!”

              “Just be patient, I work on a much larger time-scale than you.”

              Would you listen to any wild excuse that billionaire could possibly give as to why he is waiting instead of ending the suffering of a child now?

              Making things all right in the end doesn’t excuse anyone for letting suffering happen to begin with.

              • johnrosstar says:

                Jehovah set in place very durable biological processes that if left unmolested would result in vigorous and healthy life for all. He didn’t set in place a system that would necessitate Him constantly ‘micro-managing’ to sustain it which is what you want Him to do now.
                Sin is the introduced monkey wrench that has mucked up the works in our bodies resulting in all that befalls mankind. Sin itself is an inherited problem that alienates us from Jehovah. Jehovah is pure and holy and won’t deal with imperfect humans in a direct manner as He will again when mankind is brought back to perfection. Think of it as a bigger expression of “not tolerating fools”. Would you invite a bum off the streets into your home who hasn’t showered in years, is prone to violence, has nasty habits and talks in a disgusting manner? Compared to the perfection Adam had and threw away, we’re ALL like that bum. In the meantime, we have approach to Jehovah through His son Jesus Christ.
                In fact, the administration He is creating to rebuild mankind is made up of 144,000 “kings and priests” – humans who have proved themselves faithful and installed in heavenly positions awaiting the war of Armageddon to begin ruling the earth – starting with the violent overthrow of Satan’s present system (including religions).
                So He is doing something but in a more long-lasting manner instead of simply patching up rusty ships that are constantly springing new leaks.
                He’s quite right to let them ‘sink’ and bring them back fully made in the resurrection when peace will reign and disease will be a thing of the past. All mankind will then be ‘micro-managed’ if you will by this new government and by the end of the 1000 years be considered “perfect”. THEN……AT THAT POINT…all government will be dissolved so that “God will be all things to everyone” and enjoy the “glorious freedom of the children of God”.
                Jehovah really isn’t wanting to micro-manage everyone…he is fine with giving people a wide latitude in choices etc. Look at the freedom the angels had for millions of years…to the point that some took too many liberties with regard to the earth.
                So please at least attempt to consider the really BIG PICTURE, in terms of having unending life…where 1000 years comes and goes and you’re still living large. You might very well appreciate having this FREEDOM where Jehovah isn’t bothering you all the time because he has better things to do but He’s always a prayer away and angels come hang out with you and offer assistance if you need it. But you know what’s expected and how to live within reason and have come to love Jehovah to an extreme degree (he is a “happy God” as the bible says)….why would you want to rebel?
                So in the BIG GEOLOGIC PICTURE, you might well appreciate how Jehovah rolls. In the immediate NOW, it might come off as harsh….but our first father Adam put us in this situation so Jehovah is letting it play out to it’s bitter end. It will forever be a testament to the fact that it doesn’t pay to seek independence from God…anyone offering ‘something better’ as Satan did will be quickly seen as a liar.

                • Garbonzo says:

                  > He didn’t set in place a system that would necessitate Him constantly ‘micro-managing’ to sustain it which is what you want Him to do now.

                  I don’t want him to do that now, I would expect an Almighty God to get it right to begin with. The fact that we see flaws in the design is evidence he doesn’t exist.

                  > Sin is the introduced monkey wrench that has mucked up the works in our bodies resulting in all that befalls mankind.

                  Think about what you’re saying. What is sin? “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” It is an act, or behavior. Can my behavior be passed onto my kid? Not in the way you are trying to say. My kid can act like me in some ways, but it is not guaranteed, and if we behaved like Adam & Eve in *every way*, there would be no one worthy of mercy, since Adam & Eve didn’t receive mercy. So we can presume that we are different than Adam & Eve even though we supposedly come from them. There is a certain variance there. So how can sin be inherited? It can’t. You are just parroting what someone else told you even though it doesn’t make any sense. “Sin” cannot cause our bodies to degrade, if anyone has the power to do that when we were originally perfect, it would be a deity, God. So it would follow that God is the one that took away our perfect bodies he originally gave us all because one guy did something wrong. “Inheritance” is an excuse to make you not be disgusted that God would willingly let someone suffer for what their ancestor did. And this is repeated throughout the Bible. INNOCENT children punished for their parents when God HAD the power to stop it. (I’m sure you know the accounts, although if not I can cite them.) There’s no excuse you can give that would justify that behavior as moral. We as humans realize that is wrong, much less an Almighty God.

                  > Compared to the perfection Adam had and threw away, we’re ALL like that bum.

                  Great example! Is a bum guaranteed to produce bum-offspring? That would be ridiculous. Everyone can pave their own way through life, and although you have influences, and if you are raised on the streets you have some bad influences, that doesn’t mean you have no choice but to become a bum.

                  > So He is doing something but in a more long-lasting manner instead of simply patching up rusty ships that are constantly springing new leaks.

                  Why would an Almighty God build a ship that springs leaks to begin with? Even if there was a problem, there only needs to be an instant before it’s fixed like that. Instantly. It doesn’t take time.

                  > He’s quite right to let them ‘sink’

                  WAT. He’s God, WHY would he have to let a boat sink in order to make a new one? No, he fixes the old one good as new, right away. You are making things more complicated than they are in order to for the idea of God to fit with the facts we know about the world. The simplest answer is often the correct one.

                  > You might very well appreciate having this FREEDOM where Jehovah isn’t bothering you all the time because he has better things to do

                  What other things is Jehovah doing that is so busy he can’t end all the suffering now? Have you ever thought about that? “Oh, well, God is a mystery and we don’t have all the answers.” If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. If that there are so many questions left unanswered, you have to realize the belief doesn’t hold up according to logic.

                  If a judge/jury finds many holes in a testimony that doesn’t make sense logically, and there are many questions that aren’t answered, they don’t make excuses, they say something isn’t right here.

                  > ….why would you want to rebel?

                  That’s a good question, if you’re smart, why would you rebel against an Almighty Being? Why would you give up everlasting life? if you have perfect logic, why would you rebel against God as Adam and Eve did? You can still have free will and choose to do the most logical thing. If someone with great power who created you tells you to do something, is the most logical thing to follow what he says to do, or to rebel? Rebelling is a stupid choice, therefore Adam and Eve were stupid people, therefore they weren’t perfectly intelligent, which follows that they weren’t perfect. This touches a bit on this point: http://500questions.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/44-why-would-god-make-us-so-unintelligent/

                  The Bible NEVER says they were perfect. This interpretation of Genesis was instituted LONG after the story was first recorded…you’d think if God wanted the story to be interpreted that way, it would be interpreted like that from the VERY beginning. Heck, why wouldn’t you put in the Bible a simple sentence if you wanted it to be interpreted that way showing that they were perfect. But we don’t see that. Why? An Almighty God WOULD DO THIS. You wouldn’t want any ambiguity, you would want everyone to understand. Such an exclusion shows how wrong of an interpretation this is.

                  The Adam and Eve myth was created long before any of our current theology existed, and our current theology was retrofitted in, which is obvious because of how sloppy it is, with a lot of holes in the interpretation. (this isn’t even a quarter of it)

                  More info on the origins of the story:

                  http://www.rationalavenue.com/adam-and-eve-a-babylonian-myth/

                  http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/babylonian.html

                  > In the immediate NOW, it might come off as harsh…

                  Now is what matters, logically, I’m not saying this because I am sick of this world and want to live in Paradise or Heaven, I’m saying this because logically it makes sense. Suffering would have ended long ago if anyone had the power to stop it, and they were moral beings. I’ve given you the analogy of the billionaire who waits to give a life-saving vaccine to a child. If you have any way to excuse that billionaire, I’m all ears.

                  > so Jehovah is letting it play out to it’s bitter end.

                  When is the bitter end? Why is there a set time it has to play out for? Either an Almighty God can end it whenever he wants and is choosing not to for no reason, or he’s not Almighty.

                  > It will forever be a testament to the fact that it doesn’t pay to seek independence from God…anyone offering ‘something better’ as Satan did will be quickly seen as a liar.

                  An Almighty God would be able to see that through without suffering. Even with human logic I can think of a few ways. I’ve talked about that on this article:

                  http://500questions.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/56-why-did-god-create-satan/

                  My comment link:

                  http://500questions.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/56-why-did-god-create-satan/#comment-12809

                  • johnrosstar says:

                    It might do well for you to familiarize yourself with ‘epigenetics’. It has to do with the fact that parents’ environment and lifestyle/diet can have a direct bearing on the genetics they pass on to their kids. It’s a newer but rapidly expanding science.
                    Since it’s true for matters of health, who are you to say that the stresses brought on by our first parents’ turning their backs on their Creator didn’t unalterably affect them to the bone (and DNA)? As our Creator, Jehovah (along with His firstborn Son) made not only a crowning achievement that he proclaimed as “GOOD” – (hence where we get the idea of “perfect” or ‘suited to it’s purpose’), he is also responsible for all they myriad chemical processes that keep us alive. Given the fact that He made us “in the image of God” and therefore elevated from animal creation in ways of character and mental, spiritual abilities, who are we to say that there wasn’t to be a synergistic benefit from a one-on-one relationship with Jehovah as true ‘children of God’? Adam “walked with God during the breezy part of the day” – any needs or concerns would be openly discussed. God’s Holy Spirit would be made available to man as well. The point being that Man was made with the idea of them being part of Jehovah’s universal family and given respect by even angels as fellow worshipers of the True God. I’d go so far as to say that we were built with special sensitivities regarding a connection with our Creator. How could mankind remain unscathed by a divorce of such magnitude?
                    The biblical record says that those living close to Adam lived many 100’s of years with each generation living about 200 years less than the prior until it leveled out at what we see now. When Adam and Even pulled away from their Creator, it was akin to pulling the plug on a fan – it wouldn’t stop immediately but slowly wind down. Adam living to over 900 years still testifies to the robust way we were originally designed and created.
                    I think this argument precludes any reasonable person from regarding SIN as a trivial matter.

                    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2725198/How-wild-lifestyle-poor-diet-20s-unborn-childs-health-DECADES-later.html

                    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/diet-during-pregnancy-linked-to-diabetes-in-grandchildren/

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Your sources absolutely do not show that something like sin can be inherited. It’s important to look at the facts and get them right before trying to fit them into your pre-determined world-view (it is something we all have to be weary of).

                      Epigenetics doesn’t describe permanent changes. Chemical processes do not, by nature, require manual intervention. Besides the fact that genetics proves there could have been no original couple.

                      Also note that the Creator of Gen 1:1 is not Jehovah (YHWH, Yahweh), but rather the Elohim, a pantheon of gods imported from Ugarit before Yahwism (Jehovanism) took over, replacing polytheism with monotheism.

                      You therefore have a choice, in your insistence to propound the inerrancy of literally interpreted Creation Myth, to choose either the gods of Ugarit as your Creator, the single God invented later by early Hebrew people, who you refer to as Jehovah, (Yahweh), or else all of the above.

                      2 points on the Creation Myth to consider:

                      Why at Genesis 3:14 would God punish ALL creatures in a species such as the snake for what Satan (supposedly) did? It’s not much different to punishing all humans for what one or two humans did, but this time no snakes were party to going against God, apparently it was Satan taking the form of a snake. So why punish snakes? It doesn’t make sense logically. However, if you look at it from a mythological standpoint, and how the creation myth was taken from civilizations prior, we can see why it’s in the Bible. It’s not supposed to make sense, it’s a myth, just like Greek mythology doesn’t make sense literally.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpent_(Bible)

                      Now at Genesis 3:24 it talks about a sword…but wait a second, this was at the very beginning of mankind’s creation, there wasn’t supposed to be any violence in the Garden of Eden, much less by man…we can presume that SWORDS were not yet CREATED (by man). Yet there was a flaming sword guarding the entrance to Eden, why would God create a weapon that has created so much bloodshed over the years? The sword is a symbol of war, not peace and unlike the knife, there’s little purpose to the sword but bloodshed and fear and training for bloodshed and fear. Why would God want war and fear? The Bible literally has God CREATING THE SWORD. How sick is that?

                      But yet again, when you realize that it was simply a made up myth from a time when they already had and were familiar with swords, you see why it was put in there.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      Jehovah was not alone in the act of creating. As it says in Colossians 1, that the Son of God was the “firstborn of all creation” and as such was the only individual directly created by Jehovah and is therefore known as His “only begotten Son”. “All other things were created through him and for him”. Proverbs 8 alludes to this relationship when it talks about the personification of Wisdom, which the pre-human Jesus Christ certainly qualifies. This coworker in creation refers to himself as a “master worker” and taking much joy in the acts of creation.
                      So when Jehovah said, “Let US make man in OUR image”, that was who He was talking to. Other scriptures lay down evidence that the archangel Michael was in fact the prehuman Jesus Christ and also served as The Word of God in representing Jehovah to the Israelites as well as being the one who was literally with Adam when “he walked with God during the breezy part of the day” (Jehovah being of a nature it’s impossible for man to behold and yet live).
                      As for epigenetics, it provides a reasonable scientific basis (or at least a start) for why their sin would affect their offspring. If it makes no sense to you, so be it.
                      As for the “flaming sword”, that was the best way to describe whatever it actually was when Adam conveyed the story or put it in writing. By then (100’s of years later), it might not be unreasonable that swords had come into use – esp since Satan was affecting his base influence upon mankind. It’s like calling a UFO a flying “saucer”; “Are you seriously saying something a cat can drink milk out of was flying around in the sky?!!”
                      It’s called using illustrative language to get the point across. The bible has a habit of doing that.

                    • Elo says:

                      > “Jehovah was not alone in the act of creating. As it says in Colossians 1, that the Son of God was the “firstborn of all creation” and as such was the only individual directly created by Jehovah and is therefore known as His “only begotten Son”.”

                      That doesn’t erase the first sentence in the Bible which translates as “In the beginning the pantheon of gods from Ugarit created the Heavens and the Earth.” Interesting you reference the language of the Council of Nicea which is not the same language as the unknown author called Saul/Paul or whatever his name actually was, if in fact it was one person (even after we remove the known forgeries).

                      > ““All other things were created through him and for him”. Proverbs 8 alludes to this relationship when it talks about the personification of Wisdom, which the pre-human Jesus Christ certainly qualifies. This coworker in creation refers to himself as a “master worker” and taking much joy in the acts of creation.”

                      Nevertheless you are citing an unknown author who claims to be Tarsian and would have no direct access to the Hebrew tradition, but rather his own culture, which was following other myths unknown to Hebrew people. No wonder then, that there is no genetic memory of a certain “Jesus the Nazarene” who worked any miracles or was executed for apostasy/heresy, in any of the Talmud, nor in any other extant Hebrew source material.

                      > “So when Jehovah said, “Let US make man in OUR image”, that was who He was talking to.”

                      That’s not what it says. It says the “pagan” gods, the Elohim, created the heavens and the Earth. The Elohim of Gen 1 are not the same as YHWH of Gen 2. YHWH was invented later, probably from a legend told by a traveler from an enclave named YH. Gen 2 tells you that the Creation Myth was reinvented when Yahwism overtook Elohism, marking the shift from animism and polytheism to the anthropomorphic God and monotheism.

                      > “Other scriptures lay down evidence that the archangel Michael was in fact the prehuman Jesus Christ and also served as The Word of God in representing Jehovah to the Israelites as well as being the one who was literally with Adam when “he walked with God during the breezy part of the day” (Jehovah being of a nature it’s impossible for man to behold and yet live).”

                      Yeah but all of that was imported from Persia. The word “archangel” was nor part of the Hebrew lexicon until the Greeks and Persians began stampeding across the Levant, infusing Hebrew tradition with Persian Heaven, Hell, and the archetypes of angels and demons. And by that time Hebrew became a dead language, replaced by Greek and Aramaic. So you see, worshiping the icons of Christianity is tantamount to worshiping bits and fragments of foreign, “pagan” and enemy religions.

                      This why Genesis never tells you Yahweh created Heaven, Hell, Satan and the Angels. It’s a later addition to the religion. One of many upgrades to the Hebrewism 1.0, which followed the gods of Ugarit and Sumeria. Also note that although Yahweh is supposed to be the one and only god, the goddess Asherah appears in the Bible, also an import from neighboring religions, and is regarded as the bride of Yahweh.

                      > “As for epigenetics, it provides a reasonable scientific basis (or at least a start) for why their sin would affect their offspring.”

                      No. Epigenetics accounts for certain mutations which can contribute to the modification of the genotype. It has nothing to do with acculturation to taboos, nnor religious myths, and esp. not the Creation Myth. Besides, Genesis contradicts you: God goes on to destroy them, and leaves the gene in the alleged progenitors of the human race (sons of Noah and their wives). This conflicts with the claim that God is omniscient. Worse, it makes the destruction of the human race futile, pointless and therefore a defective tactic. Noah’s drunken nakedness after the flood proves YHWH botched this cleansing operation. Of course the whole basis of the flood myth was imported from Babylonian, where the gods they Hebrews considered nothing more than “pagan” idols (hence impotent) were actually the ones who caused the “flood”.

                      But of course no one in their right mind, with the most basic information readily available today, would ever regard myth, legend and fable as historical narrative.

                      > “If it makes no sense to you, so be it.”

                      Biology and scholarly exegesis make perfect sense to me. The defects in your posts are not correctly cast as incomprehensible. They’re just wrong. Check the use of the word “Elohim” and its relation to the pantheons of Ugarit and Sumeria. And of course read any exegesis of Genesis from a scholarly source.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      “The defects in your posts are not correctly cast as incomprehensible.”…..so you’re telling me there’s a chance!? NICE! I’ll take what i can get.
                      Elohim can be singular or plural. You’re grafting way too much subtext to the word. It’s a title denoting much respect, not a personal name like Yahweh. Could it reflect the language in use at the time? Of course.
                      Jehovah revealed Himself in greater degree as time went on. Exodus 6:3 for instance:
                      “Then God said to Moses: “I am Jehovah. And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but with regard to my name Jehovah I did not make myself known to them.”
                      This only reflects the progressive nature of God’s relationship with men of faith, not some cultural norm at the time and certainly nothing pagan about it.

                    • Elo says:

                      > Elohim can be singular or plural.

                      Typical religious equivocation. Deny all of the evidence. The Elohim is a pantheon of gods from neighboring countries like Ugarit. Notice I said a *pantheon of gods*. It’s like a *troop of monkeys* or a *bunch of bananas*. Is it really that hard for you to understand simple English? There are a plurality of gods in the pantheon. And they come from an earlier culture which existed before the people inland and south of Ugarit began to identify as the Hebrew culture.

                      > You’re grafting way too much subtext to the word.

                      You’re deleting too much historical evidence which overrides your claims.

                      > It’s a title denoting much respect, not a personal name like Yahweh.

                      The grafting was done between the cultures of antiquity who invented gods to explain phenomena for which they had no science. After the Hebrew people outgrew their worship of the pantheon, there arose a cult of Yahwists which became predominant. But for reasons unknown they did not redact the Elohist Creation Myth. Thus there are two completely different version of the creation, one in Gen 1:1 and the other in Gen 1:2.

                      > Could it reflect the language in use at the time? Of course.

                      It’s a pantheon of gods. Not because of a language anomaly, but because the Gen 1:1 version of the Creation Myth applies to the polytheistic version of Hebrewism, before the Yahwist movement supplanted the older form of their religion.

                      > Jehovah revealed Himself in greater degree as time went on. Exodus 6:3 for instance:
                      “Then God said to Moses: “I am Jehovah. And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but with regard to my name Jehovah I did not make myself known to them.”

                      The exegetical meaning of this kind of passage is that the believers were seeking a god who transcended the animist forms of their enemies’ gods, becoming first a person and then a god envious of all other gods. They needed to believe their god was superior because they were constantly being bullied. Their enemies appeared to have more powerful gods, so the legend of Yahweh grew over the centuries.

                      > This only reflects the progressive nature of God’s relationship with men of faith,

                      There we go with the misogynistic blooper again.

                      > not some cultural norm at the time and certainly nothing pagan about it.

                      Well “pagan” is not a Hebrew word, but it’s one you understand. Should you ever investigate history, exegesis, and anthropology, and begin to learn a little mythology, you’ll begin to understand why, generally speaking, educated people refuse to read myth, legend and fable as historical narrative. Religion is entirely a cultural phenomenon, which is why every culture has its own set of myths, legends and fables, and their own gods/goddesses, rituals, taboos, traditions, beliefs, arts and languages. Yahweh is not special. In the entire set of extant lore, he is relatively minor. It’s the selection of this tradition, mainly by virtue of several Jewish and Christian diasporas, and a number of random historical events (e.g.,which army won which battle) that this story even survived in Western culture. Otherwise it would be as unfamiliar to average Westerners as, say the Shinto, Qashqai, or Jain traditions are.

                      Yes, Yahweh is a cultural product of the evolution away from polytheism, while the early Hebrews continued to assimilate “pagan” cultural elements into their religion. The most glaring examples are the importation of the Flood Myth from Babylon, after which it was altered — but key details were left in, which is why we know it was taken from Babylon. The same is true for the code of Hammurabi, who gloated that the gods visited him and gave him these laws. Sound familiar? It should. But the Hebrews could not be expected to bring all 600 or so laws from Babylon. So they created a truncated version. And of course it was Marduk who commanded Hammurabi to write “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

                      This is why history is mandatory in the schools. Without it, people begin to rely on their own legends and myths to replace the stuff they never studied. That’s grafting on top of the thousands of years of prior grafts.

                      You can learn more about the religious artifacts of Sumer/Chaldea/Babylon by visiting the British Museum and/or its web site. Of interest to Bible enthusiasts are the 7th c Gilgamesh epic, the artifacts from Ugarit, the recent discovery of Asherah statuettes in ancient Hebrew homes, and the obelisk containing the Code of Hammurabi.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      Your conclusions regarding Jehovah are simply what you see looking through your Bubbles-esque thick lenses of cynicism. Sadly, i’m afraid that you’re incapable of seeing things from another angle. But we’ll give it the old college try just the same.
                      If one dissects the passage at Proverbs 8 and compares it with Colossians 1, it becomes evident that Michael (the only-begotten Son of God, later known as Jesus) had a lead-role in the act of creating. “And I was especially fond of the sons of men.” 8:31 – this Son of God wouldn’t have simply done the heavy-lifting of building man (all with Jehovah’s Holy Spirit making it possible) and then fade into the background, it makes sense that he was the angel who took walks with Adam through the Garden for instance. Like other angels later, there was no need to identify himself individually – he was in fact the ‘direct representation of Jehovah’ but all glory belongs to Jehovah.
                      I can see how Jehovah would have let his Son continue to care-take this new creation that he had a personal attraction to. As the situation with mankind developed, Jehovah came more to the forefront so to speak. By the time of Moses, this Son would assume the role of The Word (John 1:1) as he continued to serve as God’s spokesman but there was no mistaking that the nation was personally involved with and contracted to Jehovah (Law Covenant).
                      “Let US make man in OUR image” reflects the camaraderie that the Son and Jehovah enjoyed while creating – no pantheon there my friend.
                      Elo be careful, you could be mistaken for a Trinitarian, trying desperately to shoehorn Jehovah into a polytheistic godhead. He never was and never will be.
                      I’m sure you get great enjoyment meeting with your fellow cynics at Starbucks, indulging in your circle jerk of cynical intellectualism. But hey as John Lennon said, “whatever gets you through the night is alright” (not really – for your own good you should stop it).

                    • Elo says:

                      “Your conclusions regarding Jehovah”

                      Yahweh (Gen 1:2) is not the same as the Elohim (Gen 1:1). That’s a fundamental matter of exegesis.

                      “are simply what you see looking through your Bubbles-esque thick lenses of cynicism.”

                      No, I am looking through the lens of exegesis, which is the only appropriate treatment of religious writings on a blog based on reason.

                      “Sadly, i’m afraid that you’re incapable of seeing things from another angle.”

                      It’s counterproductive to look at history obtusely. Here we are agreed, by rule, to stick to facts and evidence. That eliminates the assumption that Yahweh and the Elohim are the same or similar.

                      “If one dissects the passage”

                      The only valid form of dissection is exegesis.

                      “at Proverbs 8 and compares it with Colossians 1,”

                      Invalid procedure. First you must declare the source material. As soon as you introduce Proverbs you need to introduce the Papyrus from the Instruction of Amenemopetat at the British Museum:

                      http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/p/papyrus_from_the_instruction_o.aspx

                      This by far predates the oldest Hebrew codex and demonstrates that the authors of Proverbs were familiar with Egyptian wisdom literature. Again, you’re ignoring the true history and replacing it with your beliefs about history. That’s fatal to intelligent discourse.

                      As for the Epistle to the Colossians, you must first introduce the source. It purports to be Paul of Tarsus, who lived much later and in another quadrant of the known world from the people of Judaea. However, modern scholars hold that some other unknown author composed the Eplstle to the Colossians. You can read more about this by researching the exegesis.

                      “Compared to undisputed Pauline epistles, in which Paul looks forward to an imminent Second Coming, Colossians presents a completed eschatology, in which baptism relates to the past (a completed salvation) rather than to the future: ‘…whereas Paul expected the parousia in the near future (I Thes 4:15; 5:23; I Cor 7:26)… The congregation has already been raised from the dead with Christ … whereas in the undisputed letters resurrection is a future expectation… The difference in eschatological orientation between Col and the undisputed letters results in a different theology of baptism… Whereas in Rom 6:1–4 baptism looks forward to the future, in Col baptism looks back to a completed salvation. In baptism believers have not only died with Christ but also been raised with him.'”

                      citing The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Edited by Raymond E. Brown, S.S., Union Theological Seminary, New York; NY, Maurya P. Horgan (Colossians); Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm. (emeritus) The Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC, with a foreword by His Eminence Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, S.J.; Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1990 1990 p. 876.

                      “it becomes evident that Michael (the only-begotten Son of God, later known as Jesus) had a lead-role in the act of creating.”

                      Michael is introduced in the Book of Daniel, a text written after the Babylonian captivity, and after contact with the liberating Persians. It was this contact that infused into the Hebrew mythmaking the Persian concepts of angels and demons, heaven and hell, and the *Messiah*, who was Cyrus the Great. If you consider yourself a Messianic Jew then you’ve adopted a late-Hebrew position, fused with Persian religious ideas. Your above statement almost sounds like a tribute to Ahura Mazda.

                      Also note that Dan-El is a name of Ugaritic origin, such as in the Epic of Aqhat. It means “God (El, not Yahweh) is judge.” If the Hebrew people didn’t pick this up in the Levant, then they also were exposed to it during the Babylonian captivity.

                      “‘And I was especially fond of the sons of men.’ 8:31″

                      As opposed to being fond of the sons of gods. Yes, because in polytheism, and in this case the Persian version, the gods/godgesses produced sons or **demigods** who became ultra-anthropomorphic reinventions of older themes. It clashes with monotheism, since it’s absurd to juxtapose a second source of magic on top of chief god. But the tragic hero of the Roman war who was crucified (or the archetype if no such rebel was preserved in the legend of Jesus) needed to be vulnerable to Roman atrocity. So they invented a demigod who roamed their little corner of the planet who was a fragile human. And yet magical when it served the fables to make him magical.

                      “– this Son of God wouldn’t have simply done the heavy-lifting of building man (all with Jehovah’s Holy Spirit making it possible) and then fade into the background, it makes sense that he was the angel who took walks with Adam through the Garden for instance.”

                      It makes sense that ideas believers stitch together from the patches of religious myth, legend and fable handed down to them through Ugaritic, Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian and Greek sources will produce many bizarre permutations, none of which comes close to historical narrative. For that, we rely on exegesis, which requires a lot of research into all of the available evidence, not just this highly redacted patchwork of textual material assembled under Pope Damasus. Before you can even cite a Bible, you must first refer to the source. For example, you need to acknowledge that the material collated together, which you treat as homogenous, was a project undertaken by your ideological enemies, the Catholics. And to get started familiarizing yourself with how this was done, you should consult the epistle from Jerome to Damasus. This is your starting point. This is the beginning of unraveling what the Bible is and how it came into existence.

                      http://www.bombaxo.com/jerome.html

                      The point here is not that Jerome translated the older codices into Latin. The point is that he (his committee) were responsible for declaring the canon of texts and binding them together into a single volume. That is, they cherry picked your material for you. And you treat it as a continuum of thought. Therein lies the second most egregious fallacy of Biblical literalism, paling only in comparison to the fallacy of treating myth, legend and fable as historical narrative. And those fallacies are compounded by simple errors, like confusing Yahweh with the Elohim.

                      “Like other angels later, there was no need to identify himself individually – he was in fact the ‘direct representation of Jehovah’ but all glory belongs to Jehovah.”

                      Only once you’ve dismissed the notion that all glory belongs to the Elohim of the protohebraic era. It’s quite a dilemma trying to be a purist when you’re dealing with so many contradictions. That seems to be the rationale behind approaching religion as a Protestant, but then divorcing yourselves from “organized religion”. Indeed some of the Puritans did this too, yet still figured out how to live in communities and to come together for “meetings” which were deliberately made to be very egalitarian. The postmodernists can’t seem to get past this point of development, so they just identify as “individuals”, or they band together in one of several denominations that takes pride in being outside of the orthodoxy. But then they turn around, adopt the collation prepared by Catholics, and hold it up as inerrant in the literal interpretation. They seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that, if not for Jerome, and a few of his Catholic predecessors, there would be no canon. Thus the phrase “there but for the grace of God go I” should be recast — as a theologian reacting to ignorance of exegesis — as “there but for the intellect and tenacity of Jerome and the patriarchs, go I”.

                      “I can see how Jehovah would have let his Son continue to care-take this new creation that he had a personal attraction to. As the situation with mankind developed, Jehovah came more to the forefront so to speak. By the time of Moses, this Son would assume the role of The Word (John 1:1) as he continued to serve as God’s spokesman but there was no mistaking that the nation was personally involved with and contracted to Jehovah (Law Covenant).”

                      The facts are these: God broke the covenant when he allowed Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans to be overlords of his “chosen people”. There was no covenant, and in the throes of the Roman massacres that accompanied first the desecration and then eventually the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, this despair became evident in the forging of a new religious identity, not in Judaea, but in places like Alexandria and Tarsus. They were refugees. And assuming Paul is a real person (who knows?) and once we throw out the forgeries like the Epistle to the Colossians incorrectly attributed to him by the Catholics, we are still left with, at best, a second generation half-Hebrew, half-Romanized/Hellenized Tarsian, surrounded by cults now lost to us, but exhibiting a second (after Hebrew exposure to Cyrus) fusion with Persian mythology, namely the cult of Mithra, which was further Romanized by the time it was established in Tarsus.

                      “‘Let US make man in OUR image’ reflects the camaraderie that the Son and Jehovah enjoyed while creating – no pantheon there my friend.”

                      That’s all gloss, to justify the error of assuming Elohim and Yahweh are identical. They are not: even if El was written in the singular (Eloah) it would denote one of the named gods of the pantheon. But let’s not leave this to bluster. Just look at the Ugaritic tells (mounds) like Ras Shamra (https://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/nn172.pdf) where the precursors to Hebrew text are found. This is the beginning of a quest, one rooted in evidence, not in assumptions made in deliberate ignorance of all evidence to the contrary.

                      “be careful, you could be mistaken for a Trinitarian,”

                      That’s impossible. I’m a realist.

                      “trying desperately to shoehorn Jehovah into a polytheistic godhead.”

                      Actually you are the one doing that. You are trying to shoehorn Yahweh into Gen 1:1 when the name never appears there. You are also shoehorning Yahweh into the thousands of early Hebrew homes recently discovered to contain statuettes of the Ugaritic goddess Asherah, wife of Ugaritic creator-god El. If not for the shoehorn, you would discover that Asherah was the mother of the Elohim of Ugarit, a detail lost to the Hebrew version of the Creation Myth. In all fairness we need to revise the false renderings of the first sentence of the Bible to trump the many false assumptions made by translating it in full context thus:

                      “*In antiquity the pantheon of Ugarit, children of creatrix Asherah and chief god El, (hereinafter referred to as the Elohim) created the sky and the ground . . .*”

                      “He never was and never will be.”

                      In isolation, I agree with this statement. But you contradict yourself, having just stated that another deity you identify as Michael coexisted with Yahweh, and then later coexisted as Jesus. That’s not monotheism. It’s a throwback to the older idea of a pantheon.

                      “I’m sure you get great enjoyment meeting with your fellow cynics at Starbucks,”

                      No I haven’t been to a Starbucks since the first year they opened. I brew my own. And all of my friends are cool. Indeed you assume a lot.

                      “indulging in your circle jerk of cynical intellectualism.”

                      That’s bizarre, invoking an obscenity to justify religion. o.O

                      But don’t put this on me. I’m just the messenger. Put it on the schools of divinity. Or perhaps you’d care to explain why all of academia is a circle jerk. Not that we don’t know your rationale . . . but it would do you some good to work through the holes in your logic — beginning with a brief review of all of the available evidence.

                      “But hey as John Lennon said, ‘whatever gets you through the night is alright’ (not really – for your own good you should stop it).”

                      Sounds like you should stop fantasizing about me this way. There would have been a place for relating gods and goddesses to fertility rites but all of those seem rather innocuous compared to this twist you put on it. Good thing you didn’t live among the cults you think you identify with, or they might have either stoned you or used you as the victim at their next fertility rite, for allowing deviant thoughts to overtake you.

                      Funny thing, though, quoting Lennon, who said, “God is concept by which we measure our pain”. ;)

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      The supposed plagiarism of Proverbs from the Instruction of Amenemope consists of parts of 3 chapters and there is not a little contention among scholars about which has priority. The first date assumed for the Egyptian work was 1st century BCE! Only when a more influential scholar attributed it to the 21st Dynasty did this critical view gain traction. It’s called “mob mentality” Elo. Just because a cabal of scholars adopt the popular view doesn’t make it right.
                      *****************************
                      John Ruffle takes a more conservative approach: “The connection so casually assumed is often very superficial, rarely more than similarity of subject matter, often quite differently treated and does not survive detailed examination. I believe it can merit no more definite verdict than ‘not proven’ and that it certainly does not exist to the extent that is often assumed”, and “The parallels that I have drawn between [the ueuetlatolli of the Aztecs], (recorded by Bernardino de Sahagun in the 1500s) and ancient Near Eastern wisdom are in no way exhaustive, but the fact that they can be produced so easily underlines what should be obvious anyway, that such precepts and images are universally acceptable and hence that similar passages may occur in Proverbs and Amenemope simply by coincidence.”
                      *******************************
                      One could take Amenemope’s council about the outcome of The Silent Man Vs The Heated Man and compare it to our modern reference to Type A/Type B personalities along with Alpha Males and their propensity to fill our prisons and likewise accuse some poor modern bastard of plagiarism of Amenemope. A lot of the wisdom of Proverbs is common sense…in other words, common to all cultures because we’re not all that different.
                      I’ve already addressed the Elohim/Jehovah subject. Elohim is a title like LORD not a personal name as is Jehovah, therein lies your great mystery – solved! You’re welcome!
                      Saul “lived much later and in a different quadrant”???? He was born about the same time as Christ and Tarsus is just north of Syria up the coast from Israel. You speak as though he lived in Spain.
                      Origen (185 – 253) is spoken of as having used the same 27 books of the ‘New Testament” and i would assume the elders of the early Christian congregation were first responsible for gathering the accepted canon together, not your Catholic fellow. I do have faith in the ultimate author of scripture, Jehovah God – that He made sure His Word was protected throughout the long process. Psalm 12:6,7

                      Collosians’ reference to baptism and “having been raised up” refers just like in Romans to a resurrection to a “newness of life” or “putting on the new personality”.
                      It’s exactly what is referenced at 1 John 3:14 “We know that we have passed over from death to life, because we love the brothers. The one who does not love remains in death.”
                      Being submerged under water represented dying as to one’s former course of conduct and coming out of the water being resurrected to a new life as a Christian. There is no light between the two books regarding baptism. They are perfectly in harmony.

                      It’s of no special skill to be able to grab some other culture’s pagan belief in angels and demons and assume some large influence on the bible. You could like John Ruffle opined, find something similar in more distant cultures if you tried. Belief in angels and demons is practically universal in ancient cultures for a reason.
                      The first reference to the Messiah was in the first prophecy in Genesis 3:15 regarding “the woman’s seed/offspring” eventually delivering a fatal blow to the serpent’s head. This offspring’s lineage through Abraham on down was a major theme of the entire Bible, as when Abraham was told (Gen 22:18) “And by means of your offspring all nations of the earth will obtain a blessing for themselves because you have listened to my voice.’” The lineage leading to Christ was given in detail in two of the gospels.

                      The obscene reference is fitting as it describes the mutual task undertaken by ‘intellectuals’ as yourself to undermine God’s Word. You’re only entertaining yourselves but providing a messy distraction to your audience. You start with a predisposition that the bible is only a work of man and proceed to find any similarities you can within near-contemporary (sometimes not even close) works of whatever civilization around at the time. It’s WEAK.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      > Adam living to over 900 years still testifies to the robust way we were originally designed and created.

                      We only have 1 source for this, which is the Bible, therefore we cannot reliably call it a fact, otherwise we could say Thor and Zeus are real also. In order to remain logical, and make sure our beliefs are true, we need to strive to look at our beliefs objectively and without bias.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      Garbonzo, i’m one who fully trusts the bible and will refer to it as an authority. I can’t help it if you don’t have any faith in it….”faith is not a possession of all persons”.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Yeah, but why? You don’t just pick up believing in your one religion out of so many that people believe in and testify to out of thin air, or from birth. You have reasons for believing in something, anything. A Muslim or Pentecostal or Pagan can tell me the same thing as you. Who am I to believe? Why should I believe you? Reasons, reasons, reasons.

                      Regarding epigentics… it surely is a shame that when science appears to support a creationist’s beliefs, they are all for it. When it doesn’t (such as evolution), they reject it. It’s intellectual dishonesty. In your perusal of the field of epigenetics, did you perchance happen upon any research supporting the theory that eating fruit from a forbidden tree (this great “sin” you keep harping on) actually changes one’s DNA in any way? A paper perhaps? A rough diagram scribbled on a cocktail napkin maybe?

                      The epigenetic alterations of the expression of the otherwise unaltered human genome are visible and amenable to scientific analysis. They can be found and studied, not just hypothesized.

                      You seem to be talking about permanent ones – permanent changes in the expression of some stretches of code by methylation and other normally reversible processes, triggered by some kind of human behavior long ago. One good way to support your otherwise wildly improbable claim there would be identifying one or more of these permanently methylated or otherwise expression limited stretches of code, common to all humans, and correlated with a “sin” such as fruit consumption or public nudity.

                      While it is sound now that environmental or endogenous events in a given sire or dam may influence phenotype in the immediate or indeed all succeeding generations, it is not a vehicle for “original sin”. “Original sin”, as defined, would be a species-wide effect, such that all individuals of this species (Homo sapiens sapiens) would carry such an effect over time immemorial. Neither would an epigenetic activation survive even the few generations conceived of by Young Earth Creationists (less than 300 generations) to the present day without the generation of polymorphisms. If you’re looking for a biological basis for, say, punishment unto five generations or so, you could argue such a thing. Of course, to do so you would have to be utterly, raving mad, since neither is it a vehicle for mortal or venal sin- but at the least such an argument would give us a starting place to begin to define your woo-woo.

                      I spoke to a friend who is actually an epigeneticist – that is, a degreed individual who has published articles on the subject, including a fascinating new theorem related thereto, and he assures me that you are badly misinterpreting this concept.

                      It is in this post that I underscore the following: you cannot pick and choose from among extant theory and tack it up to your crucifix like so many Jewish theological reformers.

                    • cromagnostic says:

                      Question: Did Eve commit the first sin in 1) thinking about eating the fruit, 2) reaching for the fruit, 3) talking to the devil about the fruit or was the first sin committed when she 4) actually physically swallowed the fruit?

                    • cromagnostic says:

                      Gen 3:22 “And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

                      Given that they could have ALSO potentially had eaten from this Tree of Life had they done it before eating from the Tree Of Good And Evil, how would the “fan slowing down” thing apply to them then in this case?

  59. kilyobas says:

    Are parapagus hand work of GOD?

  60. johnrosstar says:

    What’s the deal with the font/word wrap here? It seems to correct over time but sure is irritating.
    I’ve always understood that Eve sinned when she first touched the fruit…that was part of the command, right?…”do not touch it”.

    • cromagnostic says:

      Agree on the word wrap!
      I only ask because I was confused by the disparity of Gen 2:17 and Gen 3:3

      Gen 2:17 says nothing of ” touching.”

      “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

      Yet we get to Gen 3:3 and…

      “2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

      Not nitpicking at all- just genuinely curious as it leads to other implications…

      • johnrosstar says:

        It makes me think of James 1:15 “Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn sin, when it has been carried out, brings forth death.” I’d think the warning aimed to not let themselves get that close to it as it’d be a slippery slope from touching to eating. That’s pretty much how most temptations work.

      • Sorry about the word wrap, I’ll look into it. I just don’t want to corrupt past conversations.

      • johnrosstar says:

        to cromagnostic;
        Jewish oral traditions teach that the testing of Abraham with offering up his son Isaac (killing him) were all instigated by Satan. That would make sense since he is referred to in Revelation as “the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them day and night”. The testing of Job was certainly brought about at the suggestion of Satan (Job 1,2). So i can see the whole tree/trees situation in the Garden of Eden being presented as a temporary test upon this new creation at the urging of Satan as well.
        The suggestion being that Satan had likewise made a scene in Heaven as he did re. Job but re. Adam and Eve not being worthy of inclusion as worshipers of Jehovah or sentient beings, whatever.
        The upside was that if they remained obedient there would be no more testing. The Tree of Life would bear fruit they could partake of and the story has a happy ending. Satan had no desire for a happy ending.
        Technically, to answer your question…even though they had sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, it could be surmised that had they successfully obtained to eat of the Tree of Life, Jehovah would have been honor-bound to allow them eternal life despite their previous actions. Jehovah always keeps His word but it was easy enough to prevent them so it’s really a moot point.

        • johnrosstar says:

          To Garbonzo:
          The fossil record doesn’t clash with the Bible. The ‘theory of evolution’ does. Scientists somewhere along the way decided to promote their theory to fact but they had/have no grounds for doing so. Articles like this are a constant stream:
          September 1, 2014

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-new-science-of-human-origins/

          “Awash in fresh insights, scientists have had to revise virtually every chapter of the human story”
          (Pro Tip: that’s because they’re making it all up as they go *shhhh*)

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-latest-fossil-finds-make-the-puzzle-of-human-evolution-harder-than-ever-to-solve/

          “The latest molecular analyses and fossil finds suggest that the story of human evolution is far more complex—and more interesting—than anyone imagined”
          (But i thought you scientists already had it solved??? *confused*)
          Me thinks your situation Garbonzo is one that takes more blind faith to support than mine.
          It’s a tad ironic that you argue epigenetics could in no way affect a species any further than 5 generations out, yet you swallow whole the argument that mystery changes come along out of the blue that push members of one species into an entirely new species. So while you cannot accept that Adam & Eve sinned in any way that could affect their offspring, it would be well within your reason had they given birth to a new species of human that sported gills or even say ‘Alien Grays’ that can easily hide from God.
          Young-earth creationists are even dumber than evolutionists as i see it so you have that going for you. Jehovah’s creations evolved just like the works of any artist or engineer but the changes were abrupt as He made entirely new species – something the fossil record does not disprove.
          It takes lots of study to “prove to yourselves the good and acceptable Will of God”…it’s not just an emotional experience which is what Pentecostals or Mormons depend on to cover up all the holes in their beliefs.

          • Garbonzo says:

            Let’s break this down:

            > “The fossil record doesn’t clash with the Bible. The ‘theory of evolution’ does. Scientists somewhere along the way decided to promote their theory to fact but they had/have no grounds for doing so. Articles like this are a constant stream:”

            Again, as someone close to this field, that is a nonsense. Debate over the *nature* of evolution is not a dismissal of the theory – which is, effectively, a law inasmuch as allelic recombination is a mathematical certainty, not a theory. Secondly, there is *abundant* evidence that evolution – and it is clear here that your actual target is *descent with modification* (DMW), which, while also true with some probable saltational variants, is not precisely the same thing. Just a week ago a lab at McGill in Montreal succeeded in activating genes causing a more classical tetrapedal support in *fish*. There are *numerous* examples of ‘evolution’ (DWM) in-lab and in-field. There are, thus, abundant grounds for concluding that evolution/DWM as applied is entirely correct.

            Finally, your ‘constant stream’ article is paid-access only. Is there anything else floating down the stream that you wanted to cite?

            > ““Awash in fresh insights, scientists have had to revise virtually every chapter of the human story

            > (Pro Tip: that’s because they’re making it all up as they go *shhhh*)”

            *Actual* Pro Tip: we have a sparse fossil record and have to deduce the spaces we don’t have fossils from, without for a moment doubting human evolution, or even frigging paleontology, which is what this article borders on.

            Science continually progresses just like individual human knowledge. When you were 4 years old could you comprehend how babies are made? 1000 years ago we had no knowledge of nuclear technology or the internet. Science progresses, so yes we learn as we go on. But we make sure what we learn is based on evidence, not “made up”.

            > ““The latest molecular analyses and fossil finds suggest that the story of human evolution is far more complex—and more interesting—than anyone imagined” (But i thought you scientists already had it solved??? *confused*)”

            The smell of your herrings in the evening is most invigorating. So now, while other creationists decry the gaps in the fossil record – which do exist, BTW – you think we should have it all wrapped up, billions of years all told, via work conducted in the last hundred fifty years in which evolution as a theory has existed. While being fought at every turn out of the prejudice of the religious clique. Well, sure. It’s like how the approaching deadline on non-renewable energy has also been solved, and how space has been completely conquered. I can only assume from your demands for instant, complete answers that you must be some kind of television executive. If so, can you make any effort towards getting all those Housewives of shows off the air? Because those women are crazy.

            > “Me thinks your situation GeoffP is one that takes more blind faith to support than mine.”

            I would be fascinated to know how this was so, since you take the Bible as your authoritative text, which is vastly unsubstantiated, while I base my opinions on that which we have actually learned and verified.

            > “It’s a tad ironic that you argue epigenetics could in no way affect a species any further than 5 generations out, yet you swallow whole the argument that mystery changes come along out of the blue that push members of one species into an entirely new species.”

            Not in the slightest. The few or several generations that epigenetic modifications might persist do not compare even to the dictates of the absurdly tiny number of generations proposed by YEC. New environmental modifications will be encountered – certainly by humans, which inhabit every region of the globe from pole to Tierra del Fuego – which will result in new activations to the same epigenetic switches. It lasts, but not a hundred human generations, not that any such data presently exists – and thus you have not the slightest support for such an idea. In the first case, sin is purely conceptual and hypothetical; there is no naturalistic exam by which it could demonstrated. I suppose you might contact a Dr. Jekyll operating out of offices in London. I understand his work on the practical, physical effects and aspects of the human soul are quite profound.

            In the second, speciation – which is, again, not precisely evolution as such – has been demonstrated both in-lab and in-field. The terrifyingly vast array of genetic (sequence) resemblance between morphologically similar species utterly demonstrates this concept also – that i) genetically related species exist which ii) are not capable of interbreeding. Done and done. It is nothing like swallowing anything whole – as, say, one might swallow whole a tale about a man being swallowed whole by a whale without any kind of correlating evidence. Rather, it is like inference from what is possibly the most enormous collection of individual confirming examinations that mankind has ever collected. Add to that the *innumerable* roster of studies demonstrating the existence of genetic variants conferring morphological, behavioural, physiological and life-history variations within single species, and their partial extrapolations to related species, and there is simply no other conclusion.

            > “So while you cannot accept that Adam & Eve sinned in any way that could affect their offspring, it would be well within your reason had they given birth to a new species of human that sported gills or even say ‘Alien Grays’ that can easily hide from God.”

            I have many questions here.

            i) Do you believe in a *literal* Adam and Eve?
            ii) What naturalistic – for epigenesis is a *naturalistic* concept, and not a theological one – evidence do you have of ‘sin’? How shall I test for sin in my population of 10,000 afflicted humans? Can sin be detected in ‘lower’ animals, such as snails?
            iii) What is your proposition about gills related to?
            iv) …

            I’m unsure what to write for iv), here. So you feel that there are ‘Alien Grays’ who ‘can easily hide from God’. To be fair, without agreeing or disagreeing with the concept of ‘alien grays’, why exactly would they be able to hide from a purportedly omniscient being? What evidence do you have of either?

            > “Young-earth creationists are even dumber than evolutionists as i see it so you have that going for you. Jehovah’s creations evolved just like the works of any artist or engineer but the changes were abrupt as He made entirely new species – something the fossil record does not disprove.”

            The fossil record cannot be used to prove or disprove suppositions about the supernatural. However, several well-characterised series demonstrate the great likelihood of microevolution (i.e. Equus, fish-amphibian). I recommend looking up such series.

            > “It takes lots of study to “prove to yourselves the good and acceptable Will of God”…it’s not just an emotional experience which is what Pentecostals or Mormons depend on to cover up all the holes in their beliefs.”

            Please accept my condolences for the apparent gaps in the thinking of the unbeliever. Truly, only the Church of _______ can possibly hold the answer to Salvation, whether it be from Sin or Saurians.

            • johnrosstar says:

              “we have actually learned and verified (evolution).” And yet you had just prior admitted they couldn’t verify because of ‘gaps in the fossil record’. So your theory is solid – the blame lies with the confounded fossil record…right.
              Again to get the quote right: “we have a sparse fossil record and have to deduce the spaces we don’t have fossils from, without for a moment doubting human evolution”. So tell me again how your view isn’t….RELIGIOUS? You obviously don’t have all the evidence in but you’re ready to convict the accused, in this case GOD. If i’m a TV exec, you must be a retired District Attorney known for his speedy convictions (who cares a large % were later exonerated through DNA evidence – the important thing is you never lost an election!).
              ” The terrifyingly vast array of genetic (sequence) resemblance between morphologically similar species utterly demonstrates this concept also – that i) genetically related species exist which ii) are not capable of interbreeding.”
              I don’t doubt that for a second. What did God do when he created Eve? He took some DNA-rich bone marrow from Adam’s rib to build her from. Who’s to say that to build Adam, God didn’t borrow a rib from a Neanderthal? Why build a computer program from scratch if 95% of the backbone code does what it needs to do? Might there be some vestigial genetic code that was simply turned off?…perhaps. Scientists love to say that most of our code is nonsense. They have absolutely no authority to say that but that’s no surprise – but it might be partly true.
              How many artists paint over old paintings? Why trash a perfectly good canvas?
              How to test for sin…or ‘imperfection’ might be a speedier study albeit a tough one but the answer probably has to do with aglets.
              “gills”…..”alien grays”….it’s called levity. Dude, you need to get your head out of the books and live a little…take a vacation, watch some Seinfeld bloopers…something!

              • Garbonzo says:

                > “And yet you had just prior admitted they couldn’t verify because of ‘gaps in the fossil record’.”

                Wrong. Gaps in the fossil record do not impact the theory of evolution in any way. Neither did I say anything of the kind. It is not necessary to have a specimen of every single step in DWM/evolution to verify the theory. For the one, there is abundant DNA sequence evidence supporting physiognomically interpreted relationships in the plant and animal Kingdoms so that specimens of each intermediate are not required. For the second, there are a number of very good morphological sequences.

                > “So your theory is solid – the blame lies with the confounded fossil record…right.”

                I get that you are committed to your religion. That’s not the same as saying you have a firm basis on which to doubt evolutionary science. In fact, you have already stated your commitment to a religious interpretation of natural history: given that the Bible offers no falsifiable hypotheses about evolution, there is little more to say about your perspective here.

                > “Again to get the quote right: “we have a sparse fossil record and have to deduce the spaces we don’t have fossils from, without for a moment doubting human evolution”. So tell me again how your view isn’t….RELIGIOUS?”

                Because series are demonstrable in numerous other systems, because DNA sequence similarity posits a web of interspecies relationships that meet expectations based on extant morphology, because genetic mapping and covariance analysis illustrates ample genetic variation for trait variability consistent with an array of extant phenotype on which selection may act -and does, because speciation has been demonstrated both indirectly from the above, and from in-lab experiments and the observation of natural populations, and because none of these things provides any support for the interference of a divine creator.

                But other than all that, what ‘as Romans 1:20-27 ever done fer us?

                > “You obviously don’t have all the evidence in but you’re ready to convict the accused, in this case GOD.”

                What exactly am I convicting God of? Forget the evils of the world, on which one would actually press such a case: what has evolution, exactly, to do with God? Your central claim is presumably that God exists, and specifically here that epigenetics is a potential vehicle for original sin. Leaving aside the enormous question of why a spiritual, metaphysical concept would need physical coding in labile on-off histone switches in DNA, such changes are transient and rarely pass the next round of meiosis. All this suggests to me that you are here as a kind of theistic outreach so as to co-opt scientific thought by co-opting scientific theory: and there is little doubt that my latter accusation is true. So, why? Do you really believe your claim about the spiritual mechanics of epigenetics? There is no evidence for such a claim, and its mechanics do not appear to be suited to your objective – and it is the placement of objective in your considerations that renders your narrative non-scientific.

                I’m sorry if this seems harsh, but you are taking concepts out of their intent here and denigrating a great deal of work that biological science has performed and well satisfied against all attempts at falsification. Let us speak frankly here: you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim and you wish to express your belief and confidence in your deity. You see, as your comments show, an epistemological threat in the existence of evolutionary science. So: why? Properly thinking scientists, at least, have nothing at all to say about the actual existence of the supernatural as codified in Judeo-Christian monotheism. We have no evidence of God. We seek no evidence of God. Our work has nothing to do with God. Or how shall I test for God? Does He act on a quantitative scale, or a binomial, or shall I expect ordinal outcomes? Which distribution shall I test His acts against? Is he more of a Chi-square sort of phenomenon? What assumptions may I make in such a model? Can I suppose that these outcomes will be normally distributed, or, considering that I am dealing with the penultimate of supernatural beings, would an unrooted multivariate non-parametric test be best? Can you attest? Science has nothing to do with God, and only to do with naturalistic phenomena. That is all. If you find threat in that, then I must ask: where your faith? Is it not written Put not your God to the test? Are you so shaken of belief that you need naturalistic verification of your supernatural conviction?

                > “I don’t doubt that for a second. What did God do when he created Eve? He took some DNA-rich bone marrow from Adam’s rib to build her from. Who’s to say that to build Adam, God didn’t borrow a rib from a Neanderthal? Why build a computer program from scratch if 95% of the backbone code does what it needs to do? Might there be some vestigial genetic code that was simply turned off?…perhaps. Scientists love to say that most of our code is nonsense. They have absolutely no authority to say that but that’s no surprise – but it might be partly true.”

                They have *every bit* the authority to say *exactly that*. I am familiar with non-coding marker DNA: repetitive junk that retrocodes not the RNA, nor probably even hairpins the strands so as to make the genes just beyond the touch of common enzymes. Are you the custodian of our collective genome? God’s sequence representative, perhaps? The majority of our genome is untranscribed filler. If you want to call it the scaffolding that holds together the rest of it, please do. I have made the same deduction in other places and at other times. But it is nonsense: it codes for *nothing.* Is it that that bothers you, as some kind of Saint of the Falsified Hope? Does it bother you to wonder – if just for a moment – what God’s plan was, in these redundant structure, the blind leads in the internal organs, the mostly silent, empty genome drifting in salt and water? Why? Why do you need to put your God to the test? And in what sense are you, the mortal, equipped to reveal and understand such works? Is faith not enough?

                > “How to test for sin…or ‘imperfection’ might be a speedier study albeit a tough one but the answer probably has to do with aglets.”

                At risk of my sanity I wonder how that would be true, or why, or what evidence there might be of it other than a borrowed concept, unsupported by facts at either end of the new bridge you wish to make.

                > ““gills”…..”alien grays”….it’s called levity. Dude, you need to get your head out of the books and live a little…take a vacation, watch some Seinfeld bloopers…something!”

                In the context, it made a very curious joke.

                • johnrosstar says:

                  “Your central claim is presumably that God exists, and specifically here that epigenetics is a potential vehicle for original sin.”
                  to rehash:
                  I put forth the notion that epigenetics is an example of how a parent’s actions could affect their offspring after you made the assertion that nothing we do could affect our offspring. So yes, “potential” is right…i haven’t been dogmatic about the notion but it seems to provide a reasonable place to start if one must have some biological reasons behind matters of faith such as this one. Do i? Not necessarily. I’m just curious and do tend to look at matters of faith in a practical way. As James noted, “The wisdom from above is reasonable”…so it’s well within our rights to exercise our power of reason and challenge what we are told.
                  It strikes me how often i’ve been assaulted with the accusation that i must NOT have faith if i present plausible science to back up the bible, “you’re supposed to walk by faith and not by sight so if you proved that heaven existed you would be a heretic!”…such the fright some must feel that science could accidentally stumble on Heaven (twisted logic).

                  Regarding the field of epigenetics, you come off like the science is a known quantity but that is faaaaar from the case. In actuality, it’s still in it’s infancy. Scientists repeatedly put forth the facade that they’ve got all the bases covered while hiding behind scientific lingo that puts off most people from challenging you, not unlike lawyer-speak. As we know with lawyer-speak it’s created to hide the truth…not unlike the religious hierarchy of the Catholic Church keeping the bible in a dead language only they could understand (Latin) for fear the populace would figure out how far away from the scriptures the Church had fallen.
                  One thing i remember my biology professor in college (my strongest class – yes, i had to pass tests regarding evolution) saying was that we would come to discover that the more we learn, the more we will realize what we don’t know and the more we would learn about less and less (specialization). But is that not the inherent limitation of man? And yet, there is no end to the dogmatic assertions by scientists that they’ve effectively ruled out God through their calculations.
                  As i’ve brought up before in this blog, science has only recently discovered Dark Matter & Energy…akin as some put it to only recently discovering the oceans of the earth all the while thinking it only consisted of dry land. This mysterious quantity (95% of all matter) we know absolutely NOTHING about except that it’s there. But of course, that this might be where Heaven hides would be extreme foolishness to such a wise person as you, right?
                  Honestly if you consider where the science of man stands right now, me arguing with you is not very far off from say if i was arguing with Aristotle, who though being a very intelligent man steadfastly believed the earth was the center of the universe.
                  I’m talking in the big scheme of things…obviously science has come a long way but in geologic terms has it really? If only recently the human race has thought the 5% we knew about was the entire universe, they’re not much different from a fish in a fishbowl thinking the entire universe was a boy’s bedroom with an occasional portal opening up into another dimension (the hallway).
                  Or say Galileo, who brilliant though he was to deduce that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe, thought it pop-cockery to think the Moon could have any affect on the earth (tides).
                  The point is that no matter the pursuit, man is inevitably myopic (think blind men examining the elephant), so i’d suggest caution in your negative assertions regarding YOUR Creator. “He chose the foolish things of the world to put the wise men to shame”.

                  • Garbonzo says:

                    > It strikes me how often i’ve been assaulted with the accusation that i must NOT have faith if i present plausible science to back up the bible, “you’re supposed to walk by faith and not by sight so if you proved that heaven existed you would be a heretic!”…such the fright some must feel that science could accidentally stumble on Heaven (twisted logic).

                    Well, science hasn’t stumbled on it. Why does the Bible need scientific backing? “We believe”, does one not?

                    > Regarding the field of epigenetics, you come off like the science is a known quantity but that is faaaaar from the case. In actuality, it’s still in it’s infancy. Scientists repeatedly put forth the facade that they’ve got all the bases covered while hiding behind scientific lingo that puts off most people from challenging you, not unlike lawyer-speak.

                    That’s sort of a bullshit accusation. If you don’t know the lingo, learn it instead of using your ignorance as a crutch to hold yourself up under examination.

                    > As we know with lawyer-speak it’s created to hide the truth…not unlike the religious hierarchy of the Catholic Church keeping the bible in a dead language only they could understand (Latin) for fear the populace would figure out how far away from the scriptures the Church had fallen.

                    *We* know nothing of the kind. You infer that, or claim to infer it, since as presented science does not support your preconceptions. Tell me: do you think that it is worth breaking a thing to make it fit your requirements?

                    > One thing i remember my biology professor in college (my strongest class – yes, i had to pass tests regarding evolution) saying was that we would come to discover that the more we learn, the more we will realize what we don’t know and the more we would learn about less and less (specialization). But is that not the inherent limitation of man? And yet, there is no end to the dogmatic assertions by scientists that they’ve effectively ruled out God through their calculations.

                    Instead of committing to a group character assassination, why don’t you isolate those individuals which have made such claims? I am a scientist. I am an evolutionary scientist. I have not ruled out God through my calculations; God does not enter into them. Do you, conversely, which to *inject* God into my calculations as some kind of infinitely expansive residual, taking up all the space of analysis that the model cannot contain? That would be foolishness. Is it not written *unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and God what is God’s*?

                    > Science has only recently discovered Dark Matter & Energy…akin as some put it to only recently discovering the oceans of the earth all the while thinking it only consisted of dry land. This mysterious quantity (95% of all matter) we know absolutely NOTHING about except that it’s there. But of course, that this might be where Heaven hides would be extreme foolishness to such a wise person as you, right?

                    Go and look there for Heaven if you must; I could as easily suppose that it was the abode of unicorns, or the resting place of Valhalla, or the spaces between the stars where the great wolf Fenris runs, mouth agog of fire and blood. That mysterious quantity could be anything at all. If you wish to believe that it is Heaven, do so. But don’t call it scientific, and don’t ask to borrow our tools to wreck our house, please.

                    > Honestly if you consider where the science of man stands right now, me arguing with you is not very far off from say if i was arguing with Aristotle, who though being a very intelligent man steadfastly believed the earth was the center of the universe.

                    As colourful insults go, this is a new one: to be compared to one of the progenitors of Western thought and be called foolish. Why not give up the charade and just, say, take up with *Incoherent of the Philosophers*? As I understand it, that work, too, belittles the machinations of the natural world in favour of a fickle deity.

                    > I’m talking in the big scheme of things…obviously science has come a long way but in geologic terms has it really? If only recently the human race has thought the 5% we knew about was the entire universe, they’re not much different from a fish in a fishbowl thinking the entire universe was a boy’s bedroom with an occasional portal opening up into another dimension (the hallway).
                    Or say Galileo, who brilliant though he was to deduce that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe, thought it pop-cockery to think the Moon could have any affect on the earth (tides).

                    > The point is that no matter the pursuit, man is inevitably myopic (think blind men examining the elephant), so i’d suggest caution in your negative assertions regarding YOUR Creator. “He chose the foolish things of the world to put the wise men to shame”.

                    I don’t know that God is my creator or not – or even which god hath done so. But you have misunderstood this in the greatest of ways: I have made no negative assertions. I simply make no such assertions. If I did not think that you had misunderstood, I would say that you were deliberately making this false position as a way to lever God into evolutionary science – which will not happen, period. If we are wise, surely it is because your God wished it so. Why delude the wise man? Should we not exercise the benefit of our minds? Should we hide our lights under bushel baskets? There is much and more to learn of genetics and epigenetics both but we have done exceedingly well and no evidence thus far points to your Creator, far from being “proof” of same. If you find that your assumptions are constantly being punctured, perhaps it is because you set up too many goalposts, one after the other, like turtles on turtles’ backs.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      Some exchanges back you asked me for REASONS to believe in God. One benefit that Jehovah will bring will be the removal of greedy, self-serving men from the earth and the persistent wicked influence of Satan and his demons. Have you ever wondered why mankind (if we are simply another animal as your science leads you to believe) is so hellbent on destroying each other? What are your thoughts regarding the extreme violence taking over in much of the earth? Does it approximate the average territorial behaviour of animals? Or is it magnitudes worse? If so is this “logical”? What examples of species can you give that naturally go at each other to the point of genocide?
                      The bible gives answers to why our situation is so dire attributing much to the fact that “man has dominated man to his harm”. Do the animals appoint senators? policemen? presidents? kings? Why does man seem to so stubbornly defy the natural patterns of evolution? And yet, surprisingly Jehovah intends to remove every layer of authority of man over man and “be all things to all persons”. This will be another benefit to accepting Jehovah’s ways, another “reason”.
                      I’m sure if you were living at the time the Apostle John wrote the words, “He will bring to ruin those ruining the earth” (Rev 11:18), you would have no doubt pointed out how ‘absurd’ and ‘bonkers’ a prophecy that is – how could man RUIN the earth?! At the time of that writing, there was no polluting Industrial Revolution; there was no Nuclear Age. And yet now here we are, with mankind possessing more than one way to truly ruin the earth.
                      The fulfillment of prophecy is a main reason i believe the bible. Because of that one scripture, i know for a certainty that Jehovah will not allow the nations to destroy each other to the point of nuclear annihilation. Jehovah’s purpose for the earth hasn’t changed and he will protect it – other scriptures back that up.
                      So i benefit from real peace of mind, here and now.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      > Some exchanges back you asked me for REASONS to believe in God.

                      I agree that there may be *personal* reasons to believe in God, but that science does not provide support for this belief. Show me how it does.

                      > So lets move on…. One benefit that Jehovah will bring will be the removal of greedy, self-serving men from the earth and the persistent wicked influence of Satan and his demons. Have you ever wondered why mankind (if we are simply another animal as your science leads you to believe) is so hellbent on destroying each other? What are your thoughts regarding the extreme violence taking over in much of the earth? Does it approximate the average territorial behaviour of animals? Or is it magnitudes worse? If so is this “logical”? What examples of species can you give that naturally go at each other to the point of genocide?

                      Some of the Hymenoptera. Chimps war with neighbouring tribes, as I recall.

                      > The bible gives answers to why our situation is so dire attributing much to the fact that “man has dominated man to his harm”. Do the animals appoint senators? policemen? presidents? kings? Why does man seem to so stubbornly defy the natural patterns of evolution? And yet, surprisingly Jehovah intends to remove every layer of authority of man over man and “be all things to all persons”. This will be another benefit to accepting Jehovah’s ways, another “reason”.

                      Well, the latter is well, though it is not related to Human Science. Further, this is leaning strongly towards proselytisation, which I don’t think 500Q would like on his blog.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      So you ask for reasons to believe in God but you cry foul when they aren’t scientific. If i give potential scientific basis for belief in Creation, you cry foul accusing me of “putting God to the test”…”is your faith not enough?”
                      You feel threatened obviously and would like to get me booted from the blog. It’s not a threat to you personally, it’s a threat to the house of cards that is your belief in science to the exclusion of God. It’s no unmovable monolith, it’s a true house of cards.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      > So you ask for reasons to believe in God but you cry foul when they aren’t scientific.

                      Those ‘reasons’ are misappropriated and open-ended. They do not support a belief in God. They are a supposition; you have chosen to suppose they mean God, but there is no reason to conclude this.

                      > If I give potential scientific basis for belief in Creation, you cry foul accusing me of “putting God to the test”…”is your faith not enough?”

                      Well, my points were very pertinent. If you believe in God, is that belief insufficient for you without naturalistic evidence? The issues you cite do not support your preconception. Neither are they a naturalistic representation of the idea you are propounding – a scientific basis for sin. Sin is not a naturalistic phenomenon, although guilt might be, as an emotion. You are attempting to build a sand castle using a paint set. The twain – science and faith – do not meet.

                      > You feel threatened obviously and would like to get me booted from the forum. It’s not a threat to you personally, it’s a threat to the house of cards that is your belief in science to the exclusion of God. It’s no unmovable monolith, it’s a true house of cards.

                      I feel that it is a threat when ‘Christian scientists’ attempt to appropriate the tools of actual science for their own ends – there are many ignorant people in the world, and it does real science no good, as a field, when provocateurs try to achieve some kind of respectability for their core concepts among lay people using ideas they have misemployed for that very purpose. You dismiss the work of those far more knowledgeable than you as a ‘house of cards’, when in fact the evidence behind evolution represents the greatest mass of evidence that man has ever collected for a concept still called a ‘theory’. There certainly is no ‘house of cards’ lest it be Christian science – on which rests the entirety of their self-identification. So many cards are missing, today, that Christian science stands erect only through force of will alone, and not on any objective appreciation of its strength.

                      I don’t want you to be booted from the blog, but you are attempting to locate support for your preconceptions using concepts that do not back you, and dismissing DWM – and genuine scientists – at the same time. These are, in my view, unacceptable. You are pursuing a religious perogative, not a scientific one. You have also attempted to engage in proselytisation here where this is not the place to do it. I recommend that you review available evidence on evolution and return with a less dismissive perspective on work in this area. ‘House of cards’, indeed.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      Godless evolution is a house of cards. If it were fact, then it would presuppose that nature itself impels the spontaneous spark of life along with vigorous adaptation. It would have to be so vigorous in fact, that evidence would be easily located such as groups of a species breaking away and establishing new, separate species to take advantage of new environmental opportunities. But the fact remains that species remain static.
                      Dogs for instance have been bred and managed for centuries and a beneficial or attractive or weird mutation would be taken advantage of immediately so someone could claim a new breed (it’s quite laughable to even suggest they’d expect it to qualify as a new species). But lo no such mutations happen, dogs remain dogs. Even if they could capture a mutation, the dogs would still remain dogs and the mutation would fade away after a generation or 3 if not for selective breeding (of which there is none in the wild).
                      When you observe how ubiquitous life is on earth with lichen, algae and bacteria living on the top of Mt. Everest or the plethora of creatures found at sulfuric volcanic vents at the depths of the ocean, it would be fully reasonable to expect SOME life on our neighboring planets despite their extreme climate and yet none are to be found. In fact there should be not only simpler life forms found on other planets, they would have ‘evolved’ into somewhat advanced animal and plant life by now. But alas, they are all truly barren.
                      Your argument now will probably be that our planet was the only one lucky enough to enjoy that sole improbable spark of life and all other life forms have sprang from that first twig of life. That too defies logic since the pursuant immediate changes that would have to occur for a single-celled organism to survive the first 30 minutes would have been just as mathematically impossible. These would include providing the little guy a way to eat, digest, poo, replicate….then start mutating into new species.
                      If all life on this planet came from a first single-celled organism, then you must infer that the billions of mutations pushing it into one species after another after another happened as well AND must continue to happen. The evidence for it would be overwhelming. Continued morphing of one species into another would be happening before our eyes and yet there is NONE.
                      Of course i’m aware that some evolutionists are now leaning towards abrupt massive changes in species as opposed to long, slow gradual changes. Uhhh – that’s creation brotha!
                      Species are dropping like flies (going extinct), no new ones are showing up. None are adapting to the new environmental challenges man is creating through overpopulation or pollution by evolving into new species.
                      It’s common sense…use your head to THINK FOR YOURSELF. Godless evolution is a fairy tale and those pushing it have their head in the sand. Their simply is no true evidence to support it.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      > Godless evolution is a house of cards.

                      No. This is sheer insinuation. You don’t even understand evolution and you are making hoops through which it must follow? The evidence IS overwhelming and there is much more evidence of evolution than there is as written in the Bible or any other religious text:

                      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140125172414.htm

                      We can observe species morphing into other species. There are many adaptations that species make to adapt to pollution and life in urban environments. Your questions about why there are no plants on other planets is puerile and shows a clear lack of understanding of the basics of evolutionary theory. Yours is one big argument from IGNORANCE, which is a requirement to believe in creationism.

                      > If it were fact, then it would presuppose that nature itself impels the spontaneous spark of life along with vigorous adaptation.

                      What is “nature itself”? Are you deifying nature?

                      > It would have to be so vigorous in fact, that evidence would be easily located such as groups of a species breaking away and establishing new, separate species to take advantage of new environmental opportunities. But the fact remains that species remain static.

                      That is the worst kind of absurd tripe. They do not. See the list below. I can provide others, in-lab and out, which also invalidate your argument, a point you seemingly ignored. But one is forced to ask: if species do not speciate, where then the room for God to play with the biological history of the planet? If species really don’t speciate, where then is the room for God to drive speciation, which you say doesn’t exist because species are static?

                      > Dogs for instance have been bred and managed for centuries and a beneficial or attractive or weird mutation would be taken advantage of immediately so someone could claim a new breed

                      And that has happened time and time again. The intelligence of border collies. The swimming abilities of the Gordon Setter. The speed of the Greyhound and the strength of the bulldog.

                      > But lo no such mutations happen, dogs remain dogs.

                      I take it you haven’t seen many dogs, then. The breeds are quite different from each other.

                      Environmental conditions promote *selection* in the wild. You seem sometimes aware of these phenomena and at other times not. Why so?

                      > When you observe how ubiquitous life is on earth with lichen, algae and bacteria living on the top of Mt. Everest or the plethora of creatures found at sulfuric volcanic vents at the depths of the ocean, it would be fully reasonable to expect SOME life on our neighboring planets despite their extreme climate and yet none are to be found.

                      Why? Do you take our limited range of environments on earth as representative of all possible physical characteristics of all planets? Why? Where did the first bacteria evolve?

                      How do you know that? How do you know there is no lichen on Mars, or bacteria on Europa, or archaea in the atmosphere of Venus?

                      > In fact there should be not only simpler life forms found on other planets, they would have ‘evolved’ into somewhat advanced animal and plant life by now. But alas, they are all truly barren.

                      That’s a pretty big (and unsupported) assumption you are making.

                      Also, perhaps you should stop being so human or earth centric in your outlook. Just because there are plants here does not mean there needs to be plants elsewhere. You also overlook the fact that Earth exists within the Goldilocks zone, which theoretically is perfect for life to exist, not to mention evolve as it has. And this simply pure dumb luck. We know that water existed on Mars once and it is quite likely that ‘life’ probably existed or could have existed there had it had the chance and time to develop and evolve.

                      > Your argument now will probably be that our planet was the only one lucky enough to enjoy that sole improbable spark of life and all other life forms have sprang from that first twig of life.

                      Why would I make such a foolish argument? We know essentially nothing at all of other planets and whether they contain life, or of their geologic histories. We certainly do not know enough to be able even to say whether Mars definitively had life. Your digression should be in the building of better straw men.

                      I will ask this, however:

                      > That too defies logic since the pursuant immediate changes that would have to occur for a single-celled organism to survive the first 30 minutes would have been just as mathematically impossible. These would include providing the little guy a way to eat, digest, poo, replicate….then start mutating into new species.

                      Why would such changes be immediate to the generation of life, instead of just being extant at the time life is naturalistically created?

                      > If all life on this planet came from a first single-celled organism, then you must infer that the billions of mutations pushing it into one species after another after another happened as well AND must continue to happen. The evidence for it would be overwhelming. Continued morphing of one species into another would be happening before our eyes . . . .

                      That’s not how we evolved. And evolution is not something that happens overnight. It takes thousands and thousands of years and is very gradual. And there is clear evidence. From our size and height changing so much over time, to the fact that we now have longer life spans and our dietary changes have altered so significantly that things like our wisdom teeth (http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/evolution/no-wisdom-teeth1.htm) are not coming in until much later in life, if at all (some never get them) and when they do come in, they need to be removed as our jaws are no longer big enough to accommodate them, to our shrinking brain size over the last few thousand years. It is a slow and gradual process.

                      Imagine if all species on earth were related (http://www.genetics.org/content/105/2/437.full.pdf) in terms of DNA sequence by some simple mathematical construction – as if they’d all spring from a common ancestor. Even humans (http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/bio-manual/Bio_Lab3-ComparingDNA.pdf/) might have genetic relationships to other extant species! Of course, if you’re some kind of “Schroderingian dodger”, you have to actually open the book to see whether or not the cat is dead. Will you do at least that much?

                      > and yet there is NONE.

                      We have watched dozens of new species evolve right in front of our faces. There’s even a squirrel currently evolving wings (iditarus macrotis.)

                      > Of course i’m aware that some evolutionists are now leaning towards abrupt massive changes in species as opposed to long, slow gradual changes. Uhhh – that’s creation brotha!

                      Actually, it’s saltation, brotha. Like epigenetics, it has nothing to say about the existence of any god. Should I assume all rapid radiations were the direct result of his whimsical work? I thought He’d just made all the animals and everything that once and left them static – as you mention in your post – instead of revising all the time.

                      If you want to define “evolution” as “creation” – fine, but you’re going to confuse people.

                      > Species are dropping like flies (going extinct), no new ones are showing up.

                      Here’s a list of species that have “split” and created new species:

                      Evening Primrose (Oenothera gigas)
                      Kew Primrose (Primula kewensis)
                      Raphanobrassica
                      Hemp Nettle (Galeopsis tetrahit)
                      Madia citrigracilis
                      Brassica
                      Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)
                      Woodsia Fern (Woodsia abbeae)
                      Stephanomeira malheurensis
                      Yellow Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus)
                      Fruit fly (Drosophila paulistorum)

                      > None are adapting to the new environmental challenges man is creating through overpopulation or pollution by evolving into new species.

                      Google “cichlid radiation.”

                      > It’s common sense…use your head to THINK FOR YOURSELF.

                      Indeed. Strangely enough, evolutionary work *is* the finest expression of common sense, and backed by a body of evidence so astounding that it could not all be read in several lifetimes. That you have *not* consulted such evidence is hardly *my* fault. Instead of complaining, why not read a book? Surely better than burning them. As you say: think for yourself.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      “What is “nature itself”? Are you deifying nature?”
                      Are you deifying Mr. Natural if you refer to “natural selection”? That’s an odd God to worship but at least he can sell posters to hippies.

                      You refer to breeds of dogs as different species. I guess that’s how evolutionists get around their rather large problem – redefine the meaning of species. Brilliant! Species used to mean different kinds that could not breed. Just like your cichlids – they’re still CICHLIDS, no matter how many ‘breeds’ you can count in Lake Malawi. Put them in an aquarium and most will willingly mate with each other and produce viable offspring.
                      And just because geneticists or botanists can force a new species of freakazoid cabba-radish doesn’t prove that it happens in nature by itself. I wouldn’t put it past the abilities of scientists to do whatever their heart’s desire if given enough time.

                      That, if you didn’t notice IS intelligent design. You “playing God” with DNA doesn’t prove blind evolution.
                      How many millions of acres of corn have been grown and meddled with? How many blades of grass growing next to these fields have spontaneously sprouted ears of corn?
                      That’s what i thought…
                      Flying mice are not “growing wings”. There are many members of that family of rodents just as there are many flying squirrels. Are they “growing wings” too? If one of them is able to flap a bit and gain lift, good for him – he’s still not a bird.

                      Again, variation within a species does not evolution make.

                      “Goldilocks zone”…I think you’re referring to the orbital zone around the Sun that would make sense for God to create life. I’m sure some sort of life is possible on other planets – where is it? Is the blind force of evolution prejudiced? Why would it care what’s comfortable to a human? Sure, earth is ‘juuuust right!’ for us, but if you were here before the Carboniferous Period, you might not think so. You’d say, “This porridge SUCKS and is too F’N HOT!”

                      “Why would such changes be immediate to the generation of life, instead of just being extant at the time life is naturalistically created?”
                      So you’re assuming that all the abilities necessary for the first single-celled organism to do all it had to do to live just came about at once? What are the mathematical odds of that happening? You really are like Aristotle – believing in Spontaneous Generation (which science accepted for 2,000 years *cough*).
                      Now excuse me, i must attend to this box that keeps purring.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      > Are you deifying Mr. Natural if you refer to “natural selection”? That’s an odd God to worship but at least he can sell posters to hippies.

                      Well you seem to be searching for a causative intelligent actor. So far as science is concerned, there is none.

                      > You refer to breeds of dogs as different species. I guess that’s how evolutionists get around their rather large problem – redefine the meaning of species. Brilliant!

                      Canidae is a very large tree, encompassing not just dogs, but also foxes, wolves, jackals, and other wild species of canines..

                      > Species used to mean different kinds that could not breed. Just like your cichlids – they’re still CICHLIDS, no matter how many ‘breeds’ you can count in Lake Malawi. Put them in an aquarium and most will willingly mate with each other and produce viable offspring.

                      And that’s the end of the argument: “most”. Not all species do willingly mate with each other and produce viable offspring, which certifies the concept of a species. Many no longer can; they have evolved too far apart. This is the first step in speciation. Just because it is a cichlid does not mean that it will automatically breed with other types of cichlids, even if it is in the same body of water. Without reasons behind the prevention of such recombination, then all of reality becomes a “Just-so” story (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-so_story). I like Kipling too, but those tales were deliberately fanciful. These tales – of the willful God directing every atom – are fanciful also.

                      > And just because geneticists or botanists can force a new species of freakazoid cabba-radish doesn’t prove that it happens in nature by itself. I wouldn’t put it past the abilities of scientists to do whatever their heart’s desire if given enough time.

                      Most of the above happened in nature itself. You think that cross-breeding in science is just toymaking? You surprise me, as a person who puts much weight on the relevance of artificial breeding. Who do you think created the breeds of agricultural stock – animal and plant – that we use today?

                      > How many millions of acres of corn have been grown and meddled with? How many blades of grass growing next to these fields have spontaneously sprouted ears of corn?

                      Millions. Corn IS a grass.

                      > That, if you didn’t notice IS intelligent design. You “playing God” with DNA doesn’t prove blind evolution.

                      Who said that it did?

                      Evolution is clear enough to witness and observe in varying degrees in many animals and how and where they live, to note how they adapted to certain conditions and how they evolved to have these sometimes subtle differences to ensure their survival. The tortoise of the Galapagos Islands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_tortoise#Evolutionary_history) are a prime example. Don’t need to play God with DNA. Just walk out and look at the animals and insects around your home and see how they adapted to live where they are.

                      And over greater or shorter time, natural processes produce new species of old, or diverge. What I would like to know is whether you really believe that all species are static.

                      > That’s what i thought…

                      You are thinking?

                      > Flying mice are not “growing wings”.

                      Yes, they are. The one I specifically mentioned has a new bone that causes his wing to spread much further than a normal flying squirrel. This allows his flight membranes to attach to his limbs rather than his phalanges, which allows him a little more mobility on the ground and in trees.

                      He is evolving a wing as we watch. From that one bone – produced spontaneously through a mutation – a better wing may well come.

                      > There are many members of that family of rodents just as there are many flying squirrels. Are they “growing wings” too? If one of them is able to flap a bit and gain lift, good for him – he’s still not a bird.

                      Umm, why would they need to grow wings?

                      Not all birds can fly and some other species, like squirrels and gliders can glide and bats can fly. It doesn’t make them birds. Just that they evolved to be able to do what they do.

                      > Again, variation within a species does not evolution make.

                      Selection on that variation does, however, and both have been demonstrated (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080417112433.htm). Where did bats get their wings? You have previously insisted that species are static, so did God make their wings especially for them?

                      > There are many members of that family of rodents just as there are many flying squirrels. Are they “growing wings” too? If one of them is able to flap a bit and gain lift, good for him – he’s still not a bird.

                      No, he’d be more like a bat, another family of mammals that evolved wings.

                      > “Goldilocks zone”…I think you’re referring to the orbital zone around the Sun that would make sense for God to create life. I’m sure some sort of life is possible on other planets – where is it? Is the blind force of evolution prejudiced? Why would it care what’s comfortable to a human?

                      What does God have to do with it?

                      Leaving aside the simple fact that we are only now, in recent years, starting to focus more closely on the planets in our solar system and the fact that it takes years to send probes to these planets.. Why do you think that every planet has to have plant life?

                      Why do you think in such an earth centric manner, so much so that you expect life on other planets to be like it is here?

                      Rather: why would life be produced in a completely inhospitable environment? There are limits.

                      > So you’re assuming that all the abilities necessary for the first single-celled organism to do all it had to do to live just came about at once?

                      Rather that an organism capable of reproducing would be able to do so in its environment. I’m sorry if this sounds tautological, but you sounded like you were arguing for predictability.

                      > “Why would such changes be immediate to the generation of life, instead of just being extant at the time life is naturalistically created?”

                      Well, it is not a change that happened over night and it was not something that was guaranteed.

                      > What are the mathematical odds of that happening? You really are like Aristotle – believing in Spontaneous Generation (which science accepted for 2,000 years *cough*).

                      Only because it knew no better. What is your excuse? =)

                      The odds were minute. What of it?

                      And frankly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at your woeful misrepresentations and lack of knowledge and comprehension on the issue.

                      Does it make you uncomfortable to realise that you are here simply by chance?

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      Not that i don’t enjoy our argument but i feel like i’m playing a game of Whack A Mole. You can’t be pinned down because your science isn’t even on the same page. You (collectively) don’t even agree on the ever-changing definition of the very word, “species”. So how can the rest of your science be a cohesive base of knowledge? It’s not.

                      http://www.icr.org/article/338/

                      https://www.inkling.com/read/biology-marielle-hoefnagels-2nd/chapter-13/13-1-the-definition-of-species

                      “To make sense of these observations, biologists recognize the importance of grouping similar individuals into species—that is, distinct types of organisms. This task requires agreement on what the word species means. Perhaps surprisingly, the definition has changed considerably over time and is still the topic of vigorous debate among biologists.”

                      So before you get lost in drooling ecstasy on the carpet in a rolling guffaw at my “woeful misrepresentations and lack of knowledge”, you might want to take a sober look at your own house. It’s not in order.

                      Let’s clear up the confusion and use biblical terminology: “KINDS”. The point is kind sir, no one KIND has ever been observed to morph, evolve or radiate into another KIND. Sure, a Great Dane might not choose to mate with a Chihuahua but that doesn’t mean they aren’t both still dogs.

                      Are you a neutralist or a selectionist? You’re obviously a microevolutionist, seeing the gravity you give small differences in dog breeds as proof of evolution.
                      Are you an adaptationist? If so, how do you contend with those of the genetic constraint and phylogenetic constraint schools of thought opposed to that sort of thinking?

                      Geez, i’m getting flashbacks to studying about the schisms among Christendom…i guess that’s because Godless Evolution is a religion.

                      How did it affect you when they had to finally trash Haeckel’s “BIOGENETIC FUNDAMENTAL LAW” (now referred to as ‘Haeckel’s Lie) that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”?

                      How many more evolution-lies have been finally served up as bogus? (I’ve been out of the scene for awhile). You can only hide a lie so long even if it does make a catchy phrase.

                      Have you given thought to taking a course in the epistemology of evolutionary science? I guess that’s a silly question as there would be no end to it (or if i were teaching it would last about 5 minutes as long as the school provided a rather large trashcan).

                      “The odds were minute. What of it?”…….Right – all those silly numbers with endless zeros, who needs em?!

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      > Not that i don’t enjoy our argument but i feel like i’m playing a game of Whack A Mole.

                      Imagine how *we* feel! Some days, it’s like every vague attack that we crush generates two more – not that the first one ever admits defeat anyway, powered as they are by a deluded kind of theism.

                      > You can’t be pinned down because your science isn’t even on the same page. You (collectively) don’t even agree on the ever-changing definition of the very word, “species”.

                      Well, that’s a load of bollocks. It’s not a system of changing goal posts – as you used here and which you infer for the nature of the discussion around speciation. It is a system of competing concepts used to try to fit a *process* into a *definition*, which sounds as though I support the ‘cladistic species concept’, and perhaps I do in concert with the classical ‘BSC’. You should understand that the process of speciation is not an instant effect. Species do not take a sudden step overnight (barring an extraordinary saltation, perhaps) and become new species. Long-term reproductive isolation is achieved most often, it is thought, by geographic isolation, so that different populations adopt changes that prevent them from recognizing each other as members of the same species later on. Many species are able to reproduce if forced – I saw several curious salmonid hybrids that still ‘worked’ even though such hybrids do not occur in nature – but do not do so because of barriers that exist that prevent them attempting to mate, such as visual cues. The same is true for dogs, wolves and coyotes, which do not breed except *in extremis* but which are different species.

                      By the by: linking to the notorious ICR is not helping you here.

                      > “To make sense of these observations, biologists recognize the importance of grouping similar individuals into species—that is, distinct types of organisms. This task requires agreement on what the word species means. Perhaps surprisingly, the definition has changed considerably over time and is still the topic of vigorous debate among biologists.”

                      And? What exactly is your difficulty with this situation?

                      > So before you get lost in drooling ecstasy on the carpet in a rolling guffaw at my “woeful misrepresentations and lack of knowledge”, you might want to take a sober look at your own house. It’s not in order.

                      Well, of course not, because God just created them all. How much simpler that would be, just the one answer: *because*. And think of all the problems that one word – just one – might answer! Why are there birds? *Because.* Why are wolves and dogs capable of interbreeding, but generally don’t? *Because.* Why do some kinds of fish and amphibians hybridize in-lab but not in nature, while others do in fact hybridize in nature? *Because.* Why are there seasons, Daddy? *Because.* Why is the sky blue?

                      … but most of us are not content with such answers. Most of us – you perhaps not included, in your drooling ecstasy at not understanding concepts you attack? – would like a functional solution to such issues. We are not content to say that Sky-Daddy did it all, just so, for the benefit of us. We’d like to know what’s causing disease, and birth defects, and deforestation, and species change, extinction, heat, weather and pollution. We wonder about such things. If you do not, why do you worry what we think?

                      > Let’s clear up the confusion and use biblical terminology: “KINDS”.

                      As described that would indeed be a retrograde, so we will not. In point of fact, your ‘kinds’ is no more than another species concept, and so, dismissed. We have definitions enough already, thankyou.

                      > Are you a neutralist or a selectionist? You’re obviously a microevolutionist, seeing the gravity you give small differences in dog breeds as proof of evolution.
                      > Are you an adaptationist? If so, how do you contend with those of the genetic constraint and phylogenetic constraint schools of thought opposed to that sort of thinking?

                      Goodness, you have found terms! Indeed, I am all of the above. I do not fall into the nonsense trap of the weight of one school or another: I give more weight to selectionism, but I am a quantitative geneticist, and so that is to be expected. I am interested in the genes of functional differentiation. (By the way: “small differences in dog breeds”?? The average weight of a chihuahua is 2 kg. The average weight of a Great Dane is 45 kg, more than a twenty-fold difference. How is that a *small* difference?) As for dealing with the phylogenetic constraint schools, I’m actually working in an area distal to that with a concept that might revolutionise all biology. I don’t worry too much about the constraints.

                      > How did it affect you when they had to finally trash Haeckel’s “BIOGENETIC FUNDAMENTAL LAW” (now referred to as ‘Haeckel’s Lie) that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”?

                      It didn’t. Neither is it completely wrong; embryos do resemble embryos of other species *broadly*. There are vague similarities, and many species do contain ancestral features, or occasionally breed them out. It’s just not a perfect representation… you know, like how the Bible isn’t apparently a perfect representation of God’s will, or of history. =)

                      > How many more evolution-lies have been finally served up as bogus? (I’ve been out of the scene for awhile). You can only hide a lie so long even if it does make a catchy phrase.

                      Well, we did have a hand in refuting that YEC thing. (Sorry about that.) Where is the ‘finally’ coming from?

                      > Have you given thought to taking a course in the epistemology of evolutionary science?

                      Well, if you’re asking for my advice, I certainly think you should take one if it’s on offer. I think you need to understand – finally, and with perseverance – that answers to life’s questions don’t generally spring out into the ethos, complete and absolute and in their final form. Instead, they take time and require revision, sifting through various ideas to locate the good ones, conserve them and preserve them for the next round. If that sounds like a allegory about the contrast between creationism and evolutionism, that’s because it is.

                  • Eve says:

                    This is in reply to your last comment in this debate about kinds. I recommend reading this website with proof on how the Biblical word for kind can mean animals that CAN’T BREED together: http://www.theistic-evolution.com/kind.html

                    The Flood story in Genesis 6-7 uses categories similar to Genesis 1. The purpose of Noah’s animal collection is to preserve a small breeding population (by pairs and sevens). The “kinds” of animals taken onto the Ark are able to breed together successfully with others of that same kind. If two animal groups cannot breed together, then Noah must judge them to be of different kinds. This is the “Noah Test”.

                  • Eve says:

                    Life on Earth still favours evolution over creationism:

                    Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, first published in 1859, offered a bold new explanation for how animals and plants diversified and still serves as the foundation underpinning all medical and biological research today. But the theory remains under attack by creationists in various parts of the world, particularly the US, Turkey, Indonesia and the Middle East.

                    Perhaps three of the most powerful ways to test evolution are through comparative genomics, homeobox genes and transitional fossils.

                    Collectively these provide solid evidence for evolution as a robust theory to account for the diversification of all life. So allow me to explore some recent discoveries in these fields.

                    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-life-earth-favours-evolution-creationism.html#jCp

                    extract:
                    Humans share 98.8% of their genes with chimpanzees. As we know the time at which divergent mutations accumulate between lineages, we can estimate that humans and chimpanzees last common ancestor (LCA) lived about 6-8 million years ago.
                    This date is supported by the known fossil evidence of ancient human species and prehistoric apes.

                    To date these results have all supported the existing theory of evolution from what we already knew about the anatomy of such organisms. It is powerful evidence for evolution as it would only take one such case to be out of the predicted phylogenetic position to challenge evolutionary theory, but this has not yet happened.

                    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-life-earth-favours-evolution-creationism.html#jCp

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      I guarantee you that, were the estimates of the exact estimated *day* of divergence between human and chimp lines based on sequence evidence not to match the exact *day* of ancestral divergence based on the fossil record (perhaps a quarry would reveal a chimpanzee having fallen dead in the midst of giving a ‘come-hither’ gesture to a human having fallen holding his or her hand up in a gesture of explicit refusal, or possibly the reverse), creationists would come on this site to bitch about it.

          • Garbonzo says:

            I’m re-reading your comments and notice this:

            > “Awash in fresh insights, scientists have had to revise virtually every chapter of the human story”

            So, I was driving down the road one day when I noticed that the car was getting kinda close to the edge. Maybe the car was veering to one side or maybe it was the road that was turning. Either way, I said, “Hmm….” and then I altered my course.

            The greatest strength of science is that it can correct its errors. It doesn’t matter whether the errors were caused by lack of information or human stupidity or even actual “changes in reality”. What matters is that science can change its conclusions and stay on course. And you think that’s a *bad* thing?

        • cromagnostic says:

          Thanks for the response. The only thing I find as mind boggling this “combination of the order of events” being a possibility are the corresponding implications.

  61. cromagnostic says:

    -Johnrosstar

    Why have a Tree of Life (read: immortality) that Adam and Eve be allowed to eat from if they were already created “perfectly in God’s image” and without sin?

    Is this not redundant?

    • johnrosstar says:

      If in fact the whole set-up was orchestrated by the one who was quickly becoming Satan then it seems reasonable. My own supposition is that they were indeed created perfect with unending life as the intention, yet Satan didn’t like the idea and proposed the test…if they passed the initial test then they would then get a stamp of approval so to speak. I’d guess that it gave his argument a facade of reasonableness. In other words, their loyalty being called into question wouldn’t be an open-ended situation but only temporary.
      Jehovah isn’t a pushover by any means but he truly listens to angels and people and can be quite flexible. The scriptures speak of “softening the face of Jehovah” through prayer thereby gaining forgiveness or some other consideration.
      When Satan was bringing up all these questions and later charges, there was an audience of angels observing (Read Job 1,2). So instead of Jehovah dismissing the angel out of hand, he let the matter be played out even though the results were quite negative for the time being.

      • cromagnostic says:

        I like your supposition on Satan orchestrating things- or at least Jehovah being willing to appease Satan’s inquiry. However that’s my personal bias and I have to discard it because there’s no scripture to back that up (at least chronologically).

        What I can’t discard is why if Satan was orchestrating having the Tree of Life be in the garden then why didn’t he tempt them to eat from this tree FIRST then have them eat from the Tree of Good and Evil SECOND to eternally “damn” Adam and Eve?

        Or in other words, if the Tree of Life was Satan’s call…why didn’t he use it?

        • johnrosstar says:

          Perhaps a caveat that Jehovah placed on the plan – Knowledge Tree was early-bearing, Life Tree was late-bearing??????????

          • cromagnostic says:

            You’re taking time out of your day to sincerely answer these questions- thank you for that.

            If the tree itself were “late bearing” and Adam and Eve were created immortal (before Satan’s temptations) then it wouldn’t matter how “late bearing” it was…eventually after however many “X” millions of years in the Garden Of Eden if they were allowed to eat from this tree eventually statistically they would have (without outside interference).

            • johnrosstar says:

              Thanks! no worries, i’m touching up the paint on a car and able to sit between primer/paint/clearcoat….coats.
              I never said they were created with immortality. I’m sure if a meteorite happened to strike a perfect person in the head, they’d be quite dead. There are so many ways to easily die that i’d imagine once in a blue moon, everyone might need to be resurrected by Jehovah. I don’t think angels will be at our side 24 hours per day making sure we don’t slip off a ladder or that a rock doesn’t roll off a hill while hiking a trail…maybe they will? The Apostle Paul prayed over the body of a boy that had fallen out a window falling asleep while he spoke to a crowd. Jehovah brought him back to life.
              When we think of “perfect”, it seems to me we might overestimate what that means. It doesn’t to my knowledge mean the imparting of special powers…just means a body that works like it should and keeps working – doesn’t age.

              As for Satan, (if my suppositions are close to accurate) i could imagine that the creation of man “in the image of God” really upset the apple cart with reference to how the angels took the news. They’d seen many versions of human-like creations with varying degrees of smarts come and go but then suddenly Jehovah is putting this one on a pedestal and apparently expects the angels to give this new model respect and assistance, LOVE even. Some, including most assuredly Satan thought it absurd. “God must be out of His mind!!?!!!”. And so, possibly Satan was asking Jehovah to back up the wagon just a bit and think this through…”Let’s put them to a test before you allow them ETERNAL FRIGGIN LIFE!” So, the Tree of Life wasn’t a reflection on the quality of their bodies…just part of this test.

              • Garbonzo says:

                So what are you trying to say, that Adam & Eve may have to be resurrected every time an accident happens, but if they ate from the Tree of Life they would be immortal, therefore if a meteor struck, it would bounce off them?

                Another question: Does perfection also mean a perfect mind? For instance, if given two paths, could a perfect being calculate which is the most logical (with the information provided)? Sort of like Spock, but even more logical?

      • Garbonzo says:

        How can a perfectly moral supreme being change his mind? Either you do the moral thing or you don’t. If someone can “soften the face of God”, that means he had intentions to do something immoral. We can see throughout the Old Testament that God was not a completely moral being…this was added after.

        • johnrosstar says:

          I get the feeling that you have a rather dull, bookish way of looking at…everything. You seem to have a sanitized view of what an Almighty God should be, not One who has a dynamic personality capable of listening and responding thoughtfully to his own creatures. You need to remember that He created man in His image – beings He could really ‘relate’ to and there be a sharing of ideas etc. If He needs to present himself in such a way as to instill fear, He’s perfectly capable of that but it’s evidently not His default personality.
          For instance, after Jonah pronounced judgement upon Nineveh (a quest he tried to escape), Jehovah decided not to destroy the city because the inhabitants repented of their ways. Jonah was actually quite pissed at this change of heart by God (as it sounds like you would be as well).
          Other times, Jehovah had no qualms wiping a city off the map (Sodom….Gomorrah…Jericho…Babylon).

          • Garbonzo says:

            The only way I’m looking at this is with reason and logic, something that if you chose to use, you would have the same questions I do.

            A supreme being is NOT EQUAL to a human. I even believe that is what your theology agrees with. To compare God to a human is intellectually and even theologically dishonest. God making man in his image…does that mean he is exactly like man? I didn’t think so. You can’t have it both ways. Either God sees a moral right and does it or he sees a moral right and doesn’t do it (therefore becoming immoral). This is totally different than man because sometimes we don’t see what action would be the most moral or just. Sometimes we will decide on an action thinking it is for the best only for it to end up being unjust.

            You are trying to make God like man in order to justify a logical contradiction, and it’s intellectually dishonest.

            Regarding Nineveh, man changed (Nineveh repented), NOT God. The two situations are not comparable.

            • johnrosstar says:

              Who said they were equal? An image is only a reflection of the real thing – not a replacement. We reflect God’s qualities – but can’t pretend to be the full embodiment of them.
              What about God feeling regret over making man? Gen. 6:6 “Jehovah regretted that he had made men on the earth, and his heart was saddened”.
              How does that strike you regarding God? It wouldn’t seem to fit with your version of what an ideal Almighty Supreme Being should be – One who should be able to create sentient beings who never fail, never disappoint, ALWAYS perform exactly as God would. An Automatonic God devoid of emotions with a universe full of automaton worshipers. Geez just writing that depresses me. I’m glad that Jehovah allowed for and tolerates varying personalities and allows the freedom to fail and even fail spectacularly with grave results. That’s true freedom (not without consequences mind you).
              You’re uncomfortable with your position and are starting to vacillate between extreme notions regarding my words. That’s a good thing. It means my reasoning with you has had an effect. It’s good for you to question your prior leanings, for they rest on the quicksand of man’s short-sighted and limited understanding.

              • Garbonzo says:

                Your *whole* argument’s very *foundation* is based on an absolute *misrepresentation* of my argument. Again, this is intellectually dishonest, and for us to continue to discuss this, please refrain from doing so in the future.

                > “Gen. 6:6 “Jehovah regretted that he had made men on the earth, and his heart was saddened”.
                How does that strike you regarding God?”

                It strikes me as a God with emotions…what the hell does this have to do with anything I’ve said? I never said a supreme being can’t have emotions. I never said a God should be ANYTHING. I was arguing against what is generally regarded as a characteristic of a supreme being: perfect thought and perfect morality. I assumed you agreed with this.

                > It wouldn’t seem to fit with your version of what an ideal Almighty Supreme Being should be – One who should be able to create sentient beings who never fail, never disappoint, ALWAYS perform exactly as God would. An Automatonic God devoid of emotions with a universe full of automaton worshipers.

                *Again*, I *never* said *anything* of the sort.

                For you to have to resort to logical fallacies in order to reconcile your beliefs shows me how uncomfortable you are with *your* position.

                Let’s re-state the argument a third time:

                IF a God is perfectly moral, how can he *change* what he decides to do to a group of people unless they repent of their evil ways (or whatever they were doing that upset God)? Because it follows that there is only one perfectly moral course of action, either what he was planning on doing was immoral, or it was moral, and what he did was immoral.

                • johnrosstar says:

                  I apologize if i don’t grasp the full meaning of your argument at first blush or second.
                  Mercy is a quality of God’s throughout the bible and yet you insist on an ideal of God who can’t exercise mercy – whatever decision He made would be hard-fast and unyielding. Of course you don’t believe in God at all but if one did exist He would be more of a cold, calculating merciless God not unlike the BORG of Star Trek lore. Members of the hive would all behave exactly as created with the entire colony acting as one with disloyalty an impossibility. Any expression of individual weakness would directly reflect on God and He would be forced to destroy the entire hive and start all over again. I mean if you extrapolate your premise further out, that’s the only logical conclusion.
                  You charge me with putting humans on the level of God and God acting like men. But in your vision of what a God would be (if He existed), even humans aren’t ‘human’.
                  So basically, you have a predisposed model of what God should be and since the God of the bible doesn’t fit your mold, then that can’t be God.
                  Am i close to understanding you?

                  • Garbonzo says:

                    Again, I never said a god can’t be merciful, for you to say I not only said that, but I insisted on it is absolutely bonkers. If mercy is the most moral of a bunch of decisions, then mercy it is. The point you keep dishonestly trying to slide out of is that a moral all knowing god can’t change his mind on a moral decision. There can only ever be one decision that’s the most moral.

                    Everything else you’ve said about my argument is nonsense. Tell me how God can change his mind on a moral decision.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      You seem to be the one hung up on God changing his mind when it comes to “moral decisions” so please give a few examples of how you think He did so.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Exod. 32:14, Amos 7:3, 6, 2 Samuel 24:16, 1 Chronicles 21:15

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      For the most part your references pertain to Jehovah exercising restraint when dishing out punishment. If you read the context the angel had already executed quite a few when Jehovah stayed his hand. Let’s say someone assaulted a member of your family and you wreak vengeance upon them with your fists. Do you keep pummeling them till they die or stop when you first draw blood or somewhere in between? It’s called self-control and i don’t think it’s odd that God would have that quality. Hence my “ridiculous, nonsensical” Borg analogy (i guess you weren’t a fan). Well, the Borg were a race of cyborgs that were hellbent on destroying the universe and replicating. Nothing could stop them as they had a mission and there was no reasoning with them they being devoid of empathy. This is how it appears to me that you think God should be. If not, what are the options? You obviously think that once he decided to visit destruction upon the Israelites, he should have killed every single one and anything less shows weakness of character (morality).
                      We being in God image, display these qualities as they originated with God and are part of His personality. So why is it so shocking to you that he exercises restraint or decides a punishment has gone far enough? It’s not saying God is like man…He came first, He is the exemplar of every positive trait.
                      And how can you say all those references don’t fall under the heading of MERCY? You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      This is getting ridiculous. How many times do you have to put words in my mouth before you stop using logical fallacies? Is it even possible to get you to stop being intellectually dishonest? This is not hurting me, it’s hurting you. Stop being intellectually dishonest with yourself. I’ve warned you once before, I’m not even commenting any further on the subject if do not you understand the importance of not using logical fallacies and why you are doing so.

                      > This is how it appears to me that you think God should be.

                      Stop thinking about what it “appears to be” and start understanding what it is.

                      > You obviously think that once he decided to visit destruction upon the Israelites, he should have killed every single one and anything less shows weakness of character (morality).

                      This is *not* obvious and *no* I *don’t* think this.

                      > So why is it so shocking to you that he exercises restraint or decides a punishment has gone far enough?

                      Who said it is shocking to me? ONLY YOU!

                      > And how can you say all those references don’t fall under the heading of MERCY?

                      I never said this! What did I say?

                      > Again, I never said a god can’t be merciful, for you to say I not only said that, but I insisted on it is absolutely bonkers. If mercy is the most moral of a bunch of decisions, then mercy it is.

                      You are here *explicitly* saying I said something when I said the *exact* opposite. What is your angle here? Are you misrepresenting what I say on purpose? If so, why?

                      > For the most part your references pertain to Jehovah exercising restraint when dishing out punishment.

                      Whatever you want to call it god changed his mind, and it’s a contradiction for him to do so. Whether it was good for him to change his mind or not is not the subject and doesn’t concern me, which you start to harp on about after this sentence. In other words, you are arguing against something that isn’t there. It’s not my arguments and my arguments are not concerned with what you are arguing against.

                      > If you read the context the angel had already executed quite a few when Jehovah stayed his hand.

                      Again, there is only one utmost moral action. Either it was most moral to execute these people or it was most moral to not execute them. You may have an opinion on the matter, in your opinion was it more moral to execute or not execute? But you will logically choose one, *not* both. In this case god did both, meaning one of those was a less moral action, therefore he is not a completely moral god.

                      To clarify: My argument does not concern itself with whether or not it was right for God to do what he did to these people. Do you understand this? Think about it for awhile before you formulate a response. My argument *does not* concern itself with whether or not it was right for God to do what he did to these people. My argument concerns itself with him changing his mind.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      Arguing with you is like trying to traverse a high mountain ridge with steep cliffs on each side. “NO, that’s not my point! My point is 2″ to the left!….How dare you go there?!” Anal retentive much?

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Look, don’t make it seem like I am making it hard for you here, I’m not. I’m at least *trying* to apply intellectual honesty in to my arguments and I only ask that you do the same. If that is too much for you, we can end this line of discussion here, but I hope that you consider my argument that you’ve shown you don’t have an answer to. This happens many times in debates with theists. Their go-to response is to “wait on God” or “God works in mysterious ways, it is not our place to question him”. I don’t have to go into why these excuses are not logical. It seems you at least recognize the need for evidence to support your beliefs. and not simply faith. An important first step.

                      All the best.

                    • johnrosstar says:

                      Right, well i’d love to carry on a discussion but you’ve staked out ground that’s about the width of a wood shaving and demand an argument there. You have zero argument sir and can only seek shelter in your panic room of safe words…”intellectual honesty!!”….”logical fallacy!”. Reminds me of Beldar Conehead….”MEPS…MEPS!!! maintain low tones….MAINTAIN LOW TONES!”
                      Come back to the land of common sense and we can talk.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Remember, I’m not the one who couldn’t argue the point, you were, and ad hominem attacks won’t change that.

                    • Amanda Moreno says:

                      Hey Friend, it seems all of the verses you have listed are examples of God’s forgiveness and mercy, not of Him changing His mind on moral decisions. That is God’s grace: “unmerited favor” i.e. “you don’t get the punishment you deserve”. I hope that makes sense ^_^ ~Amanda

                      Sent from my iPhone

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Changing your mind and having mercy are not mutually exclusive, both can happen at the same time. Therefore, God having mercy does not mean he didn’t change his mind. The scriptures say he did.

                      If you read the context of Exodus, it has God saying *he will* do something, and then he doesn’t, because Moses changed his mind, “softening the face of God”. Perhaps you can soften God by repenting, or doing something for him if he is angry at you, that wouldn’t contradict God’s character, but you can’t soften God when he says he’s going to do something against someone else. The other person(s) have to change in order for God to change. If no one changes, and words are only spoken, as we see in Exodus, God changing his mind is completely contradictory to orthodox theology. This argument can devolve into postulated and unfounded semantics, but the words speak for themselves.

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Thank you for the kindness shown, by the way.

                    • Amanda Moreno says:

                      Hey Garbonzo ^_^ ah, thank you for your two responses :)). If you would kindly help me to understand your first response in laymen’s terms would be great. You sound like a very intelligent person, and I’m afraid that I perhaps didn’t understand everything you said. However I think I got the gist. I just want to make sure as food for thought :).

                      Here’s an insight to how I look at the nature of God changing His mind on fulfilling a punishment. I was thinking if my child was disobedient and I grounded him for 2 weeks but then half way through I see that for the time being he has learned his lesson [[after all, I wouldn't expect that my grounding him would mean correct behavior for life. All people need correction from now and then at any age because no one is perfect]] and I ended his grounding a week in. This to me is merciful, it doesn’t make what he did right, it means I forgave him and he feels sorry and ready to not repeat what got him in trouble. There’s probably a much better way to explain this >.< and I hope I'm not going off on a tangent. I also hope you're having a nice weekend :p

                      Thanks! ~Amanda

                      Sent from my iPhone

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Perhaps I went too in depth with my response, and in trying to make it easier to understand, I just made it harder. To put it simply, the scripture shows that God said he will do one thing and Moses talked him out of it. This doesn’t seem like a bad thing for a human being to do because we are imperfect, but for a perfect Almighty God to be talked out of something shows imperfection. Like I’ve tried to explain, since God is a completely moral being, he knows what path is the most moral one out of two or more choices. For instance, to kill or not to kill. God would know which is the most moral of these. Maybe it is to kill, maybe it is to not kill, my argument doesn’t concern itself with that, (I’m not trying to insinuate God should have killed someone or not killed someone).

                      My argument is that if the most moral choice was to exterminate these people, he did something less moral by not exterminating them. And if the most moral choice was to show mercy and not exterminate them, he was *going* to do something less moral, which is just as bad.

                      Your analogy is great if we were talking about a human being, and this I think is where both you and john are tripping. God is not a human being, and can’t be compared to one in this context. God is supposedly perfect and *always* knows the right and just course of action to take. Can we as humans say that? None of us can. In your analogy, an all knowing being would ground the child for a week, or however long he already knew it would take for the child to learn his lesson. This could be at the exact point of 4 days 10 hours 2 minutes and 46 seconds for instance. God would know the exact point that child changed his attitude, there is no guessing.

                      Hope that explains it better. =)

                    • Amanda Moreno says:

                      Hey Garbonzo, ^^

                      I see what you are saying now. I guess what it comes down to is that you see God’s mercy as being immoral because He did not fulfill His (moral) punishment. Whereas I love this about God, honestly, I am a sinner and my right punishment is Hell but God has made me righteous through Christ. He has changed His mind on my just punishment.

                      I don’t see comparing God to humanity problematic because Christ himself compared God’s characteristics through human analogies. However I’m not much of a philosopher either ^_^ I took a course in college and I did alright, but it’s not my strong suit. So I appreciate that you took the time to explain it to me and I respect and value your thoughts as I’m sure you do mine. It’s good to understand each other -_^. Thank you for taking the time to write me!! ~Amanda

                      Sent from my iPhone

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Amanda, I do not see God’s mercy as being immoral, I see *his changing his mind* as being immoral, and illogical. It is a clash with logic and evidence God is not real. If at first God decided to spare these people, and then Moses talked him into killing them, the argument would not change. God changed his mind.

                      To put it simply, God cannot change his mind, and yet the scriptures clearly tell us that he did. You can leave mercy out of it.

                      Question: Is mankind completely moral? Does mankind know everything?

                      Question: Is God completely moral? Does God know everything?

                      In these aspects mankind is *the polar opposite* to God, I’m sure you can see… so comparing God to humanity can’t be right *in this context*.

                      Thanks for your time also.

                      ~ Garbonzo

                    • Amanda Moreno says:

                      Hey Garbonzo, :) I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree because I don’t see God changing His mind as immoral but a merciful thing, as a sign of grace. It’s okay, I don’t expect everyone to share my beliefs but I’m glad someone is asking the deep questions and that all these different voices are adding to the conversation. And if there is anything I can add from my perspective I’ll try my best (I hope I’m not driving you crazy >.< ^_^).

                      Thanks for reading and replying =D ~Amanda

                      Sent from my iPhone

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      To put it simply, it is not only a logical contradiction, but also a theological one. The Bible basically says that God cannot change his mind:

                      Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord; I change not.”

                      Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent.”

                      Ezekiel 24:14 “I the Lord have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent.”

                      James 1:17 ” . . . the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

                      It is clear the the Bible writers were not all harmonious, and therefore were not inspired by one source.

                    • Amanda Moreno says:

                      Hey there ^^ sorry it took me a while to reply but I had to make a nice long drive. I see the verses you posted and I’m no theologian scholar so I’ll bring these up to my pastor & see if he can give me an answer that can satisfy your curiosity. If I can’t get you an honest straightforward answer then I’ll let you know. Thanks for the reply ^_^ ~Amanda

                      Sent from my iPhone

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Do you have answers to all the other questions on this blog too, I’m curious? ;)

                    • Amanda Moreno says:

                      Hey ^_^ I actually just read the question about conjoined twins. I actually haven’t followed the whole blog, and because I have commented before I get all of the replies via email. I was only reading up on information about Abbey and Brittany Hensil (sp?! >.<) when I came across 500Q so the short answer is: no. :) is there any question you have specifically in mind? Thanks! ~Amanda

                      Sent from my iPhone

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Not really. The whole blog is great. =)

                    • Amanda Moreno says:

                      Hey Garbonzo, I don’t want you to think I forgot about you but this is a fascinating topic and it’s taking me a bit to put all of this in a coherent and accessible form. But I will get it to you. I will also cover the topic of God and regret (as stated in the scripture about Noah). Please note I wanted to speak to my pastor but this last week his leukimia returned so (understandably) I didn’t get a chance to pick his brain. If you are a praying man or if anyone reading this is, please pray for God’s will to be done and to strengthen Pastor Dave Stoecklein. In other news ^_^ I hope you are having a nice week so far! Thanks! Amanda

                      Sent from my iPhone

                    • Garbonzo says:

                      Hi Amanda. So sorry to hear about your pastor. I look forward to the time when they have a cure for leukemia, I hear the science is progressing in that area.

                      I don’t really have a problem with the scripture in Genesis about God feeling regret. I understand he was sad over mankind’s wicked ways, not that he thought it was a mistake. It’s the other scriptures listed that show God changing his mind.

                      I also don’t feel a loving God would strengthen a loyal believer simply because people pray for God to do so. God should do it on his own, not because someone prayed to him. Another question would be how many prayers does it take in order for God to strengthen someone?

                      But prayer might be good in to make people feel better, much like a placebo effect, and I support that thought.

                    • Amanda Moreno says:

                      Hey Garbonzo, Thank you for your reply to my email because I will leave that part out (about resentment) and that should help keep my response under novel length. I just need to find the essence of the answers; the bottom line yet explanatory. I hope in a couple of days I should have it. :)

                      You asked me a few questions about prayer so if I could entertain you for a little bit about my personal experience and understanding of the matter ^_^:

                      My friend Michelle says ‘closed mouths don’t get fed’ ^_^ God knows what you want and need. He wants us to ask Him for anything and He will plentifully give according to His will. You are right, He does give strength without us asking, but how much more if I ask. As a believer I am strengthened according to my faith when I ask it in prayer, from a nonbeliever’s perapective it is attributed to the placebo effect. Because God can’t be empirically tested He also can’t be disproved therefore the placebo effect can’t be positively verified and also strength through prayer can’t be positively verified. I can tell you from my personal experience that I have received many answers to my prayers, but my experience isn’t scientically testable (is that even a word?? ^^). So I am quite content to pray to God, He is the father I never had in this life :D, o yeah and it only takes one prayer for an answer to prayer, so one should pray expectantly (though we should keep in mind that He doesnt answer every prayer with ‘yes’). TTYL ~Amanda

                      Sent from my iPhone

        • cromagnostic says:

          Howdy Garbonzo,

          Just finished reading through the “back-and-forth”…

          Perhaps Gen 6:7, God showing “regret” and quite the opposite of mercy might add benefit to the discussion ( at least that’s the scripture that came to mind when I was reading your ideas).

          I’ve enjoyed reading you posts.

          Have a good weekend.

          • Garbonzo says:

            Thanks Crom, I didn’t mention Gen 6:7 because I believe there are little to no apologies for the scriptures I referenced, whereas the apology to Gen 6:7 is that God felt saddened over making man because of their wicked ways, not that he felt it was a mistake. It’s just harder to argue that. But you are very correct in that it is an example of God not having mercy! Good point, thanks.

            • johnrosstar says:

              “But you are very correct in that it is an example of God not having mercy! Good point, thanks.” I’m sure you’re ecstatic! So when other citations demonstrate God’s mercy, that counts for nothing but you find one where he didn’t decide to cut short the sentence you pounce on that as an example of God’s lack of mercy. You might need to check your zipper because your bias is showing.

              • Garbonzo says:

                I’m sure you’re ecstatic! So when other citations demonstrate God’s malevolence, mercilessness, and barbarism (Yahweh was the Isrealite god of War after all), that counts for nothing, but you find one where he decides to cut short the sentence you pounce on that as an example of God’s mercy. You might need to check your zipper because your bias is showing.

                Yes, we are both showing bias. My logic is that just because a murderer decides to spare one person doesn’t mean it wipes away their other crimes.

            • cromagnostic says:

              Absolutely- it’s an interesting argument and I can see why you’d want to put it aside.

              IMHO the “using human terms to describe a God” is an even better apologetic stance than arguing whether the word means “regret, sorry, disappointed, relent, etc…”

              Still left with an omnipotent & omniscient God taking an eraser to what they wrote down.
              Still left with responsibility being a pre-requisite to “regret, sorry, disappointment, etc…”

              …Anyway we translate it.

              • johnrosstar says:

                Maybe your issues include a repressed belief in fate. You have been subconsciously deluded to accept a structure of God within the framework of ancient mythology. So you can’t understand the concept that Mankind was created “in God’s image” and therefore with truly free will. You can’t grasp the idea that as the decisions are made by a group of people (the Israelites), that therefore changes the game – Jehovah reacts accordingly. It’s a dynamic relationship – life is not guided by Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.
                And to whatever extent Jehovah is omniscient and omnipotent, he doesn’t exercise them all the time like some body builder constantly flexing 24 hours per day. He doesn’t continually make calculations regarding an individual’s future behaviour or predetermination. Do you also believe you die “when your number is up”? You’ll need to exercise the mythological cobwebs out of your mind to understand the true personality of God.

                • cromagnostic says:

                  Howdy Johnrosstar,

                  I again enjoyed your perspective. Hopefully I didn’t ruffle your feathers too much there; no malice intended.

                  1) >>”And to whatever extent Jehovah is omniscient and omnipotent, he doesn’t exercise them all the time like some body builder constantly flexing 24 hours per day.”

                  Respectfully, doesn’t this indicate that if one were to be praying during his “non-flexing hours” you’d be up the creek without a paddle on God hearing you?

                  2)>>”Maybe your issues include a repressed belief in fate.

                  What’s kindly to say that fate and free will are mutually exclusive? Genuinely stepping into a “theist” mindset to honestly give that a go, would it be delusional for the theist to believe 1) God would be capable of knowing everything you’ll ever do before you do it and thus you have a “fate” while also believing 2) you have free will to do whatever and are accountable for it, even if God knows what you’re going to do in advance?

                  3)>> You have been subconsciously deluded to accept a structure of God within the framework of ancient mythology. So you can’t understand the concept that Mankind was created “in God’s image” and therefore with truly free will.”

                  Stepping back into my own perspective: I have no problem accepting the concept of free-will as you (and scripture) have presented it; just not without the caveat that a proposed God wouldn’t be capable of understanding IN ADVANCE granting free will includes the POSIBILLITY for sin (before he ever grants it).

                  4)>> “You can’t grasp the idea that as the decisions are made by a group of people (the Israelites), that therefore changes the game – Jehovah reacts accordingly.”

                  Jehovah acts “accordingly”… but only when he has his omniscience “radar” turned up all the way to pick up on any given situation in the first place, right? How else would he know to react? This ties back into point #1.

                  5) (Referencing #1) If God were hypothetically able to “flip the switch” on and off (or use a “dimmer switch” so-to-speak) in regards to his omnipotence & omniscience I concur this indeed would explain a lot. ( I enjoyed this concept by the way…)

                  The cheap answer would be to reply “Well, that’s convenient.” However, why not look at it from a theist standpoint too?

                  He could have hypothetically flipped the switch (wholly or “in-part”) while:

                  -Creating humans and then “turned the switch back on” and said what he did in Gen 6:7
                  -Creating Satan
                  -Creating (or granting) free will
                  -Etc,…

                  However, in accepting this viewpoint one has to equally accept there is a “reason God does what he does” as God is subject to his laws of being “perfectly just” and therefore he acts accordingly- otherwise he’d be a God of chaos/negligence and one could argue all sorts of strange side-points out of that one.

                  Point being: God certainly doesn’t stop “flexing the muscle of omnipotence & omniscience” due to fatigue like the bodybuilder nor would him knowing someone’s “fate” be a calculation at all- to an all powerful God this would be no more difficult than breathing or blinking would be to us. Probably infinitely easier…

                  With the potential exception of free will, why “turn it off” when it is equally easy for him to keep it on?

                  6) >>” You’ll need to exercise the mythological cobwebs out of your mind to understand the true personality of God.”

                  Hey I’m open to anything- so for conversation’s sake let’s run with that.

                  Let’s assume that as a part of God’s gift of free will his “omniscience” gets turned off and he only “judges” and see’s all the actions we take when you die as opposed to knowing the outcomes while you’re living.

                  Makes sense right? God testing Abraham in Gen 22:2 would’ve been like shooting a fish in a barrel if he knew already what Abraham was going to do…

                  This poses two issues:

                  1) Praying for any reason other than to “give thanks” (i.e. health, guidance, strength, etc.) would require God to “take a peek” at what your future would look like should he grant your request. Otherwise he wouldn’t know if you were “shooting yourself in the foot” and him granting your request wasn’t in your best interest after all as he can see the future and you can’t…

                  2) In God’s gift of free will that necessitates him relinquishing a level of omniscience, one has to accept here that any of the man made scripture that was “divinely inspired” could have also been distorted by Satan as God wouldn’t tamper with the free will of the man writing it. (By the way- I’m not arguing a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” type deal here on the Bible. For all we know that was hypothetically in God’s plan to hang Satan by his own noose)

                  Peace be with you,

                  -Cromagnostic

  62. cromagnostic says:

    -Dear 500 Questions,

    Could a handful of us please get your perspective on the “Tree of Life” in Genesis?

    There are some serious implications in that:

    1) Adam and/or Eve could have easily eaten from this tree before having eaten from the Tree of Good And Evil given that it was permitted to eat from “any tree except from the Tree of Good And Evil.” At face value this alone infers people today hypothetically “go to hell” because the sequence of events didn’t happen this way.

    2) Genesis indicates that God stripped the possibility of eating from the Tree of Life to save Adam and Eve from permanently being in an “immortal state of sin”… yet how is this worse than burning in a lake of fire for all eternity?

    3) There are serious “free will” implications to allowing a possibility then stripping it away.

    4) There is a “redundancy factor” in having a Tree of Life that grants immortality when Adam and Eve were already “created in God’s image” and thus were already immortal. What are we missing here?

    5) If eating from the Tree of Good and Evil stripped Adam and Eve away the ability to eat from the Tree of Life, then the equal and opposite would have logically held true- yet God allowed for this possibility with no problem despite making a big deal of it when the opposite occurred?

    6) The sequence of events vs. omniscience & omnipotence of God comes into question when you consider God made it a “big deal” (cherubs, flaming swords, “the works”, etc.) to take away the Tree of Life after original sin, yet he didn’t care if they ate from it beforehand.

    The list goes on as I’m sure you know…

    All in all its a big “WTF”?

    Thanks and have a good weekend!

    • Sure, let me give it some thought and I’ll try to get back to you when I have a chance. You have a good weekend, too!

      • I love this question, and I’ve never really considered the implications of the Tree of Life beyond Adam’s choice to not eat of it before eating from the other tree.

        I took the question to my Christian wife, who suggested that the trees had a literal and spiritual significance, where the Tree of Life represents God (and later Jesus), and the other tree represents Evil and Satan. But it seems all-too-easy to overlay these ideas in retrospect, and I really don’t see how the Tree of Life would have represented God or Salvation to Adam and Eve. The Bible itself only says it would make you live forever, and does not indicate it is some eternal contract with God. Before the fall, the purpose of the Tree of Life seems pointless, because Adam and Eve were already living forever, so long as they didn’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

        But you’re right, God didn’t seem to have any objections to them eating from the Tree of Life BEFORE they sinned, and preventing them from eating of it afterwards just condemned them to eternal life in hell rather than eternal life here on earth.

        It’s also interesting to consider what would’ve happened had they eaten from the Tree of Life before or after the Tree of Evil, and what life would look like. As Garbonzo suggested, would meteors just bounce off us? Would we be immortal flesh or immortal spirits? Would we be stuck here on earth? Who knows.

        This is one question I’ll have to add to my list and spend a couple weeks researching. I’m certain other Christians have considered this problem and have attempted to formulate responses. And who knows, maybe there is some historical significance to the Tree of Life that we’re missing, or maybe the original author just didn’t think his story through well enough, and his editor failed to catch the mistake.

        500Q

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