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July 26, 2006

Dear Concerned Citizen,

by Dr. Gerald Schroeder and Kelly Walker
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Verses 24-25 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

At the end of the age of the great reptiles and dinosaurs, a giant meteor, some ten kilometers in diameter, slammed into the earth, traveling at 20 miles a second, the speed at which meteors hit our atmosphere. The huge explosion filled the air with dust that circled the earth. This blocked the sun for many months, causing all animals heavier than a few pounds to die. The dinosaurs did not survive this ecological disaster, but some smaller mammals did. With the dinosaurs gone, mammals were able to grow larger, change and spread into new environments. Most of the mammals we see today, like horses, cows, dogs and dolphins are very different than their relatives of long ago.

The event that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs is thought by most scientists to have occurred about 65 million years ago. From the disappearance of the dinosaurs onward, mammals began to change and grow larger. There is still a controversy as to whether mammals, like all other animals, changed gradually, or in dramatically sudden changes. Since there is little hard evidence of gradualism in the fossil record, several prominent evolutionists devised the “punctuated equilibrium” theory of evolution. The theory is one explanation of the evidence observed in the fossil record.  In a nutshell, it claims that organisms remain virtually unchanged for long periods of time and then suddenly change. Put in another way, evolution, especially species change, happens quickly. This is a way to explain the sudden appearance of new species in the fossil record in relatively short periods of time. Critics have called punctuated equilibrium “evolution by jerks.” Gould is reputed to have responded that neo-Darwinism is "evolution by creeps"!

Whatever you might think of the theory of punctuated equilibrium, even its critics, e.g., Richard Dawkins, agree that Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge have shown that there were sudden bursts of speciation in the history of life. Change is often not gradual as many had believed. There do seem to be a lot of “jerks” in the fossil record and a pronounced lack of “creeps!”

Clarifying translation: God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures [nephesh hi’yah], each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, and the animal according to its kind, and every creeping being of the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Verses 26-31 Then God said, "Let Us make Adam in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created the Adam in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said ‘Behold I have given you every herb yielding seed which is on the face of the earth and every tree in which the fruit of the tree gives seed, for you it is food; and to every beast of the land and every flying creature and all life that creeps on the earth every green herb for food. And it was so.” Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

God’s final creation on earth was humankind. At first these human-like beings did not have a spirit like we do. Spirit  gives us the ability to be  aware of God. The spirit [neshama in Hebrew] is what makes us human. If we did not have a spirit (neshama) we would only be animals in the shape of humans. In fact, the oldest writings about the Bible tell us that the making of Adam (Genesis 1:26) relates to such animals without a spirit (neshama) while the creation of Adam (Genesis 1:27) is the first human, the creation being the spirit (neshama) put by God into the Adam. The ancient commentators wrote down this understanding many hundreds of years before science discovered the bones of “cave men!” How did they know? They carefully read the Bible in its original language.

The spirit in humankind was to be a great gift and a great responsibility. God would only give it when He felt that the Creation was ready. God knew that once humans had spirit and the ability to think for themselves, they would be free to choose between good and evil; they would also have free will to accept or reject their Creator.

Note that ‘male and female He created them’ is in the plural. The word Adam refers to male and female. Genesis 5:2 tells us that “God created them male and female and called their name Adam in the day that they were created.” Their name was called Adam. The name Adam does not refer only to the man.

“And behold it was very good.” For all the days prior to this moment, it had been “good.” Now it was “very good.” The world was ready for humans to go out and fill the earth with goodness and love. On day number two there is no statement that “it was good.” That is because the parts of the world made on day two had not reached a level of completion; hence the delay until day three to label all as good, twice good.

Clarifying translation: And God said, “Let us make Adam [the Hebrew reads Adam, not man] in Our image, after Our likeness. They shall rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and over the animal, the whole earth, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created the Adam [Here with the creation of Adam, the Hebrew reads ‘the Adam’ not just “Adam.” “The Adam” is a specific being. In the previous verse where we are told that God made Adam, the word “the” does not modify Adam. There Adam is a general being] in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea, the bird of the sky, and every living thing that moves on the earth.” God said, “Behold, I have given to you all herbage yielding seed that is on the service of the entire earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit; it shall be yours for food. And to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the sky, and to everything that moves on the earth, within which there is a living soul, every green herb is for food.” And it was so. And God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good. And there was evening [Erev: chaos] and there was morning [Boker: order, clarity], the sixth day.

About 6,000 years ago
If we add up all the generations in the Bible and then add on the years of governments and rulers such as kings and queens and presidents after the end of the Bible, we find that Adam was created a bit less than 6,000 years ago.

About 6,000 years ago, God decided it was time to give the gift of spirit to humanity. He breathed spirit into Adam. Adam was the first human with the conscious opportunity to have a relationship with His Creator. Before Adam there may have been animals that looked human. Today we call them hominids. The oldest commentary we have on the Bible, from 1500 years ago, called them “the masters of the field.” We are told that they looked like humans but they did not have the neshama, the spirit of God. How did these commentators over a thousand years ago know about these hominids? Science only discovered their fossils a few hundred years ago. The commentators said that they learned this information by carefully studying every word of the Bible. Scientists discover it by carefully studying nature.

The first records of writing date back about 6,000 years, just after God breathed spirit into mankind! Only a very smart and aware creature can write. God had created beings with large brains to learn, hands to work with, and hearts to make choices in life. Most importantly, God created the mind, a spiritual creation that is more than just the brain that houses it! Every animal has a brain, but only humans have minds.

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Responses to What a Tragic Mess!:

In 1941 the Japan leaders thought the same thing in order to justify its attack on Pearl Harbor. Think about it! - G. F.

Excellent articles --- keep up the great work! - Bryan H.

I don’t know who Dinesh D’Sousa is but apparently ‘The Source’ thinks his answer is a sufficient explanation of all things happening in the Middle East. His answers come closer to answering the question many U.S. friends ask me when I am over there, “Why do they hate us?” As a Palestinian spokesman said two nights ago­whom we are helping itinerate and speak here in the U.K.­“We don’t hate the Americans or the British people; but we are fed up with the U.S. and U.K. governments’ failure to address the issue of the illegal occupation of our country and the humiliation of our people.” My friends in Israel, Palestine and the Lebanon are still waiting for the U.S. to face the central issue for them­Israel’s 39-year, illegal occupation of Palestine and their wanton destruction of Palestine’s economy and culture. I will look forward to what the rest of you have to say about the assumptions of this material from The Source and what you feel underlies this ‘Tragic Mess’. For me the cutting question should be more like, “What will the U.S. government do to bring a truly just and enduring peace to Palestine and Israel and thus the larger Middle East situation­if in fact it wants a just peace there?” That is the heart of ‘The Mess’. I believe that the Israeli election a couple of months ago said that the Israeli people want an end to the occupation and serious, ongoing bi-lateral negotiations toward peace­not more of Sharon and Olmert’s unilateralizing of Palestine. Shalom and Saalam! - Lloyd

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We live complex lives. We strive to sort out priorities that sometimes conflict or seem incompatible. A moral framework is needed to help us understand the reality around us. Our Judeo-Christian heritage provides a framework to help us comprehend the choices we make and the conflicts that arise over them. It is not only the main source of our spiritual values, but also many of the secular values we depend on.

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Gerald Schroeder   Gerald Schroeder
BSc, MSc, and PhD all earned at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD in two fields: Earth and Planetary Sciences; and, Nuclear Physics. Formal theological training includes fifteen years of study under the late Rabbi Herman Pollack, Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Noah Weinberg.

Seven years on the staff of the M.I.T. Physics Department prior to moving to Israel and joining the staff of the Weizmann Institute of Science and then the Volcani Research Institute and the Hebrew University Isotope Separation Mass Spectrometer facility. Currently teaches at the Aish HaTorah College of Jewish studies in Jerusalem.

Author of GENESIS AND THE BIG BANG THE SCIENCE OF GOD and THE HIDDEN FACE OF GOD. In the first full year of its publication, The Science Of God was on the Barnes & Noble list of non-fiction best sellers and was Amazon.com’s best selling book in the field of physics/cosmology for that entire year. Dr. Schroeder has approximately 60 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and 5 children.
Kelly Walker   Kelly Walker
Kelly Walker, M.S. has been a writer and editor for the past 18 years. Walker studied environmental science at New Mexico State University after receiving his bachelor's degree in English and theology. Walker taught for a year at Waterfield Institute in Sri Lanka, where he created the reading curricula for five levels of students, aged 17-23.

He was a bilingual elementary teacher in El Paso, Texas before stepping into the environmental sciences field where he worked as a conservation professional for seven years. Walker, father of two young boys, currently works for Sublime Design, a creative agency in Bend, Oregon that he and his wife own.

Kelly enjoys teaching, writing and "dressing and keeping the garden.” He continues to write, teach and advocate good stewardship of natural resources.
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