Quotations: "... somebody who is looking for a logical explanation for why faith can be a reasonable perspective for a thinking person".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dr. Francis Collins, Genome Project Director
Theistic evolution, less commonly known as evolutionary creationism, is the general opinion that some or all classical religious teachings about God and creation are compatible with some or all of the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. The Wikepedia
Christians need not fear the term Evolution:
Jesus permitted his transfiguration to be witnessed by Peter, James and John, among other
reasons to demonstrate to his followers, along with the representatives of the Law and the Prophets, that as it had been written in scripture all who born of the seed of the second Adam, would be undergoing a similar transposition from their terrestrial - carbon bodies into ethereal-heavenly bodies! Had Adam simply obeyed God, he would be living today, and both you and me could have gone to see him. And eventually all of us would have been transposed or evolved, if we had not been transposed already, on the occasion that Adam would have partook of the 'tree of life'.
My Praxis: If you were to ever mention the word evolution to Christians or non-Christians alike, don't be surprised if the skeptical members of either group turned a deaf ear to what you had to say, attacked you, threw holy water on you or simply walked away. However, I continue to believe in evolution, particularly divine evolution, which encompasses and at the same time broadens in scope many aspects of naturalistic evolution and its primary components, 'origins of the species', 'adaptation' and 'steady state' theories. There are similarities between divine/theistic and naturalistic evolution; in fact the two overlap.
Consider the genetic structure of the high-anthropoid which is believed to be 98% the same as that of humans. Is this a coincidence? Does it follow then that humans branched off from the species that we often refer to as apes? The jury is still out, however, one thing that is apparent, both species originated from a common source.
The late Pope Paul II, a giant among men from my point of view, wrote about and encouraged the intersection of science, reason and religion. The late Pope, a scholar and former professor of moral theology and social ethics in the major seminary of Cracow and in the Faculty of Theology of Lublin encouraged members of the scientific and religious communities to come together and to 'reason' together. Some Christians still cannot conceive of such a meeting, given that many Christians view science as an enemy, if not 'the enemy'. However, if you think about it, God created science.
Now scientists on the other hand, as opposed to their Christian antagonists are in most instances kinder to religion and religious people than it is the other way around. Science helps us to understand time (relocation in space), space, force, matter, motion, energy, thermodynamics, entropy, the atmosphere, gravity, the flora and the fauna, Yom and life itself, all of which were created by the entity that we refer to as God.
Science seeks to verify and explore some of the claims that have been postulated not only by religious groups but 'other origin of the universe theorists'. Science also provides verifiable answers, as well as evidence to support its answers to some of the nagging questions that plague most of us, like how did the world originate, how did I get here what is my purpose here and who or what placed me here?
Religion, on the other hand, insists that we simply have faith in God, which can often be interpreted as; one should have faith in what someone else has said, believed or written about God. Religion also demands that humans accept and believe in dogma that on many occasions has not been subjected to scrutiny. Religion even demands that writings from unknown and unproven sources be accepted as truth.
Thankfully, God on the other hand encourages us to test, touch, taste, handle and scrutinize all things even the entity that we refer to as God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, the Apostle Paul even wrote to the church at Thessalonica (modern day Thessaloniki) that they should prove all things and hold fast to those things which were good or provable, and on the other hand they were encouraged to discard philosophies, ideas and beliefs that failed to stand up under scrutiny.
Now, having said that and given that I have invoked Paul as a source, I suspect that the Apostle Paul would be dumbfounded if he knew that many of the epistles (letters) that he wrote were included in with what was considered sacred scripture. I know that my conjecture about the Apostle Paul will probably read like heresy to some. However, let me add this that not only Paul's letters, but many of the books that were included in the canon, consider for example the books of poetry, wisdom and eschatology' those books were often metaphorical and allegorical. And, let us not forget the method that was incorporated in order to determine which books should be included, or left out of the canon.
In short the method utilized by Constantine's canonical team was the method of choice or if you prefer by vote (Constantine's political motivations for constructing the Canon in the first place having been completely ignored by today's Christian). So any believer must ask himself then, shouldn't I take more responsibility for myself, in terms of my salvation, given the very method that was used to construct a canon that I am so personally reliant upon?
Factually, from what we understand today the book of Revelations barely made it into the canon. Just think of what impact that would have made on the eschatological outlook in the life of believers, if the astral laden book of Revelations had been left out of the Bible.
And when you consider the fact that other books that possibly should have been included in the canon, were left out, where does that leave us? For example, what about the other hundreds of books that were available but ignored, including approximately 200 books of the gospel that Constantine's team left out of what later came to be known as the 'unadulterated word of God'? I would have preferred a more prayerful and God-breathed canonization team, to organize books that represented 'the' word of God.
Therefore you ask, and then was all scripture 'God breathed', as Paul wrote? I don't have any argument with Paul's conclusion that true scripture was God breathed. I am simply suggesting that everything that was included within Constantine's canon, including many of Paul's letters were not all God breathed scripture! Paul admitted that some of what he wrote in his letters, more subjective truth; was written based upon opinion, his experience, beliefs and apostolic authority. However, one must ask the question, had Paul ever traveled, before down the wrong road?
So what is my real motive for delving into this topic, you ask? I am concerned about today's post-modern believers, who have been exposed to a limited and exclusive treatment of God's word by men who were selected by a politically motivated leader. I am concerned about the same believers, who have been corraled by teachers who have never verified the sources that they utilize in order to teach others. Constantine was a Roman Emperor who initially supported the martyrdom of Christians.
He had his own imperial motives for having the canon constructed in the first place, just as most religious organizations, today, have their own reasons for making the canon their exclusive source of truth. Constantine's influence alone on Christianity gives us much to be concerned about. Ask yourself this question, if Emperor Constantine was truly seeking to uncover the truth, how come he did not follow after it himself? I have discovered that within many religious groups, whether Islam, Christianity, Judaism or any of the world's other religions, their adherents often come to worship their exclusive writ, making any attempts to reason with them, effectively impossible.
I have found it challenging over the years myself to motivate believers to complete the journey and move in the direction of full disclosure. How, by verifying what they have been taught to believe is God's truth, in most cases from childhood - some of which has been proven, arguably, to be partial, questionable or syncretic truth. That step alone would help to eliminate the spirit of denominationalism, and the numerous factions that exist between disparate religions and religious groups from all over the world.
Having said that, may I add that God's truth has over the years often been associated with the purveyors of partial truth and myth that was either passed on by oral tradition, or written down by scores or writers who harbored an incomplete pr negligible understanding of the truth themselves. Sadly, given the conditioning of believers in all faiths, one can understood the fear of most religious people to question what they have been taught, especially when it has been taught as the unquestionable and unadulterated word of God. This is the unfortunate plight of religious people from all over the world.
For what they have been taught by their preachers, imams, rabbis, priests or shamans is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. These teachers have wielded an incredible, unnerving and unwavering influence on believers in their faiths. Factually, today’s believers in Christianity, in my opinion, are following a similar pattern which they often disparage when referring to their Jewish predecessors.
Consider the attitudes of most of today's Christians towards the Jews, the forerunners of Christianity. Christians have been openly critical of the failure of the Jews to move beyond the writings contained within their holy writ, the Talmud, the Torah and other rabbinical books and writings. Christians believe that the Jews should advance beyond The Law and move forward into grace and truth.
However, when you think about it, haven’t Christians essentially done the same thing by locking themselves into their own, exclusive, holy writ, the questionable canon? And, if you consider the example of these two huge religious behemoths, in conjunction with the other major religious group in the world, Islam, all 3 of the world's major religions joined together have followed a similar path. The three have left the majority of the world’s religious practitioners with an incredible conundrum. This kind of exclusism has led to factionalism, fear, intolerance and confusion.
Houston, we have a problem, or as one writer so eloquently wrote in another context, we have 'an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum', with many proselytes who are afraid to think outside of their religious boxes. By doing so, one could find him or herself excommunicated, barred or even put to death, simply for hungering and thirsting after all of God's truth!
I am grateful that, unlike most religious institutions that I am familiar with, God is not reluctant to be subjected to scrutiny, as some religious individuals would have you to believe. We are not required to worship God 'in ignorance'. I also find it imperceptible that those same Christians, who are reticent to accept scholarship or science today, have accepted, fully, the work of Constantine's scholar/scientist/philologist/philosophers and their collegial construction of the canon.
When I speak about religion, I am referring to the institution of religion which includes other faiths besides Christianity. And as any learned individual knows, many teachings from various religious groups, past and present, have been found to be fallacious and unsubstantiated, even though that religion may have served a well-intended or useful purpose at the time. And having said that, haven't many religions been proven over the years, to be in conflict with God.
Adam was commanded to have dominion over the world, which encompassed learning about his world and acquiring the requisite wisdom that was required in order to subdue the world in which he was placed, not born. In other words Adam was required to study, to learn, to experiment, to extrapolate and garner and understand the world. Adam was expected, apparently, to acquire the requisite knowledge that was available to him, the same knowledge that would have permitted him essentially to retain eternal life.
And like today's modern day scientists (including evolutionary scientists) Adam spent much of his time studying in fields that later came to be known as Zoology, Animal Biology and possibly Botany, i.e., researching, classifying and categorizing animals and plants according to their respective species and genus. Noah, was also I suspect, involved in the science of animals studies.
I have offended many Christians given my outspokenness about the failures of religion and religious institutions, however, I haven't meant to disparage or discourage anyone for I have always explained that science is not without its flaws and failure. Frankly, I have always taught my parishioners to seek the whole truth, and not to limit their understanding, exclusively, to what I have taught them, or to rely solely on what they have heard from any other teachers. I am simply devoted to the pursuit of and accuracy, even when that means discarding unproven or outdated ideas, including the ones that are religious or philosophical in nature.
And having said that I suspect that Karl Marx was likely correct when he said that 'religion was the opiate of the people'. Too many of us are or have been simply gullible or impressionable, and like a newborn chick, we sit in the nest with our mouths open, often being too willing to receive anything that has been dropped into our mouths. And the latter includes religious dope! I don't believe that God would require that we have faith in phantasm or phantasmal conjecture or myth.
God and religion in my view are two separate entities, the latter appears to have become more of an enterprise that has taken on a life of its own. We all know that many ideas and practices that have been attributed to God apparently have nothing to do with God, or with what God required, intended or desires. Micah 6:8 provides us with a perfect example of a period in time when religious Hebrews, God's chosen people, were engaged in practices that were contrary to what God intended, required or desired.
In spite of the motives of the individuals who engage in various religious practices, ritual sacrifice and other ceremonial or ritual observances, with which God was not pleased, God rejected their practices. In fact God's question to those post-exilic religious practitioners, written about in the book of Micah was, "What does the Lord require of you"? I suspect that many believers today, ought to be asking themselves the same question! Cain, eldest son of Adam discovered that a self-devised religious practice would not satisfy God's requirements. I suspect that simply following what someone else has instructed one to do without subjecting the instructor and his or her teachings to verifiable scrutiny, will result in many well-intending individuals ending up where Cain did. His sacrifice was also rejected!
I also suspect that if we would all simply pursue truth as opposed to getting all wrapped up in religion, religious denominationalism, dogma and religious practice; something that is more likely to occur in the scientific community - that humanity would be much further along and better off in both the short and the long run. We have truly been held back, by among other things, religion and self-serving religious institutions. I suspect that this thing is bigger than self-perpetuating religious institutions can possibly comprehend, and that it transcends the limitations that have been imposed upon religious adherents, even the ones who call themselves Christianity.
Moving beyond long-held theological constructs and restrictions that have been imposed upon the minds of many believers will also require the abandonment of certain religious ideas, dogma and practices that have been entrenched into the psyches of many believers. Well meaning, and on the other hand self-serving religious substrate organizations have done a yeoman's job of controlling not only the narrative but God's people. The very thought of reversing the trend and the teachings of preachers and teachers that many converts have believed in for so long will be very frightening to most Christians and members of other religious and philosophical groups.
We have religious organizations on Earth today who in spite of the fact that much of what they have taught in the past, even from the canon, that has been disprove; still insist that the canon is without flaw. Why do these organizations continue to make these assertions? Certainly, some organizations and their members feel the need to protect what they believe to be sacred, and authentic. Some cannot conceive of going back to their followers to tell them that what they have taught for years as absolute truth was not all absolutely accurate after all. And some religious clerics and teachers are simply afraid of loosing their jobs. And even though they have done their research, and having determined that the canon is flawed, they prefer to defend and perpetuate that from which they derive the most, a job, a salary and a following.
Having said that, I suspect that religious dogma, mixed in with portions of truth, has taken us just about as far as it is going to take us in its current trajectory. Why? Because too many of our teachers today are afraid to go beyond the boundaries of the limited understanding of the past. They are missing out on what God, the unchanging God, is trying to reveal in this particular evolutionary stage of our journey. I believe that scientists may in fact replace many of our religious clerics and teachers, and instead they will become our modern day 'prophets and teachers', particularly the ones who know God!
Many scientists from various scientific disciplines have discovered from their research - properties which point to what they conclude is a unifying principle, a divine equivalent, a singularity; it is a common denominator which they are discovering in all phenomenon, one which scientists are willing to concede might be what religious institutions believe to be God! Will scientist then lead us the rest of the way to God, from my perspective it is more than probable, it is likely. We have been taught in Christianity that God intends to reveal himself with clarity. Can one rule out the fact that God may have always planned to reveal himself through what we refer to as science?
And similar to what took place in the 16th and 17th century enlightenment period, science is uncovering and revealing knowledge today that many religious institutions, including the church, are often reticent to accept as truth, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Are members of religious groups willing to make any concessions to scientific truth, or will they continue to simply toss the scientific baby out with the scientific test tube water? Are the leaders of religious institutions willing to place the need of the people above their personal need for self-perpetuation?
I. A Christian friend and I recently engaged in a lengthy and spirited discussion regarding discussion, which expanded into more discussion on divine vs. naturalistic evolution. He was understandably shocked and disturbed by my non-Christian church/religious position, given that I was a minister of the church. Second, he referred to all of the creditable information out there (his words) that debunks 'scientific evolution theory', whereby proving that the scientific evolution theorem is flawed/dead on arrival.
I reminded my friend that some aspects of Christian, and other religious dogma were equally flawed! What is it that you are really saying, he asked me? Simply put, I explained the following:
1. I believe in divine evolution.
2. I believe that divine evolution was and is a part of God's original plan.
3. I suspect that God evolved itself (or himself, if you are reticent to accept that a spirit is without gender).
4. I believe that most Christians are waiting for the next stage of divine transformative evolution to occur (which is expected by most Christians to occur along with the rapture). According to scripture, God's elect 'will be changed in a moment, in a twinkling (not blinking) of an eye.
In other words God's elect will be metamorphized, like the butterfly from the caterpillar, into the next stage where Christians will no longer exist as corporeal sexual breathing beings, instead they will be transformed into extra-human/spiritual beings, existing in a form that is identical to that of Jesus Christ. And what will happen to non-Christians and those who claim to be Christians who do not have the seed of Jesus Christ within them? Well, according to Christian dogma, these individuals will become extinct, be consumed or at least be prevented from transformation into the next stage of the divine and time-independent evolutionary change life cycle!
The following texts should help to elucidate my position, with never having been transposed, anothen, from the seed of Adam to that of Jesus Christ: Read 1 Cor 15:20-23 and verses 42-50, for clearer understanding. Paul's treatise on transformation from the Adam seed to the Christ seed, I can say it enough, really needs to be examined closer by many who claim to be Christians. If you take Paul's conclusions and read them in conjunction with other scriptural texts, many who claim to know Christ will discover that they have never been converted to Christ.., because they remain of the seed of Adam. The latter group must recall that even the disciples who walked with Jesus for 3 1/2 years, still have to be converted, anothr stage in the divine evolutionary process!
My Christian friend was probably as perplexed as you are by my comments. I explained to him that I understood why he was disturbed by my comments, however, that I believe that Christians are as intolerant of information from the scientific community, as he and most Christians have accused the scientific community of being opposed to receiving information from the religious community. Most creationists, and intelligent design followers, maintain that the scientific community's whole reason for coming up with the theory of evolution in the first place was to find a viable alternative to God, and divine creation.
II. I explained that his position was flawed, given that so many in the scientific community actually believe in God, and that they had not all set out to disprove God or God's word. Dr. Francis Collins, MD, an Astrophysicist, and head of the Human Genome Project is one who believes in God and God's plan. I understand that another 45% of members of the scientific community believe in God, and many are avid worshippers of God. On the other hand, I believe that many Christians and Christian leaders are locked into 2 to 4000 year old paradigms. Many believers and those who claim to be God's hold to conclusions, myths and stories that were written by pre-modern human beings who also believed that the world was flat. Can paracletos guide the latter group into all of the truth I ask?
We all know from a historical perspective what effect Christian prejudice has had on growth, and how it has on many occasions stifled it and prevented the door of learning from being opened and entered into by human beings who were merely seeking the truth about their origins and their destiny. We all know or have read about the churches reaction to Galileo, Copernicus and others who tried to inform the church that based upon empirical evidence: that the earth was not the center of the universe. The church still insisted on teaching fallacious ideas about the Earth's place in the cosmos, in spite of proof to the contrary that what the church had been teaching was inherently flawed, and simply put untrue.
One must ask him or herself, what benefit would any institution, religious or otherwise, derive from persisting in an enterprise that prevents other human beings from discovering the truth, other than what they teach? The ecclesiastical community of the 17th and 18th century ran into the same problem that our clerics and religious institutions are beginning to experience today. Many believers are beginning to questions portions of what they were taught, and believed in the past. The same believers are not relying solely on religious institutions or religious sources to supply them with answers, whose sources of information have all too often derived from myth, allegory, hearsay and tradition. Historians and scientists have proven to be viable alternative and indispensable in terms of filling in the gaps.
Many of today's believers have become more knowledgeable than many of their religious teachers, having been exposed to resources that were kept back from them by religion organzations, and other data that has been supplied from other disciplines. What do the teachers of institutions who insisted on maintaining a monopoly on truth have to fear? The answer is simple, when portions of what has been taught before as unqualified absolute truth that is above question or dispute, turns out not to be true after all, it could destroy the very institution of religion.
With truth comes freedom, and I suspect that too many religious groups and organizations are committed to preventing their followers from finding 'the truth', which would ultimately free their adherents from the control that religious institutions have held over them. Just consider the Catholic churches prohibitions, which prevented their members from possessing bibles.
The position of the church leadership was that it was their intention to prevent individual members from coming up with their own private biblical interpretations. However, the truth is that in many instances, the ignorance of the members and their failure at inquiry turned out to be a boon for the churches leadership. The leadership's ability to keep the members of the universal church in the dark, led to tremendous abuses and the exploitation of the catholic body at large by its leadership, some of which we are witnessing today. None of us should ever outsource our responsibility to seek after truth to another human being, even if she or he wears a robe.
The facts are:
1. The word to Jeremiah in the first chapter of Jeremiah was: Before, I formed you in the belly..., I knew you. This scripture proves that human beings, at least Jeremiah knew God in a prior existence.
2. After God's breath was breathed into the earthbound body, man became a 'living soul', in this dimension.
3. And believers are looking for the next stage of 'divine evolution', a stage at which humans will be changed from mortality to immortality.
III. Transmigration of the soul?
In acts chapter 9, Jesus, while walking with his disciples, came upon a blind man, it was not accidental. The disciples reasoned among themselves, 'who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind'?
Now it wouldn't make much sense for the disciples to ask whether one could experience congenital blindness as a result of personal sin, unless they believed in a pre-incarnate state of existence. Belief in a pre-incarnate state is not as far-fetched as it may sound, given that Christians like many individuals including their Jewish predecessors, groups both religious and secular believe in 'transmigration of the soul', or reincarnation if you prefer. Many individuals today undergo previous life regression therapy, in hopes of discovering or correcting portions of what has apparently been left over from a previous life.
Beyond Jesus' explanation of why this brother was born blind, Jesus went on to demonstrate the creative work of the Holy Spirit when affecting this man's healing. How? By taking of the earth, the same substance that the human body was apparently created from, and having the blind man to apply it to his eyes in order to repair an organ which had prevented this man from seeing since birth. I suspect that this man had an impaired cornea, iris or retina.
Elijah was more than just another interesting biblical figure, with regard to reincarnation and many of his other deeds. If you were to examine his life closely, his life demonstrated that the human spirit was not confined to corporeal bodies. Consider the following about Elijah, in addition to the ability that he had to communicate directly with God:
1. He was used to heal the sick.
2. He was used to raise the dead.
3. He commanded the elements and the environment, calling fire down from heaven.
4. He commanded the elements again by praying rain down from heaven.
5. He transcended human physical limitations by, apparently, outrunning a chariot.
7. He got into what primitive man described as 'a chariot of fire' and ascended into heaven.
8. He later jumped back into a human body, and reappeared, apparently as John the Baptist. For Jesus explained that to those who were waiting for Elias to return, that John the Baptist was Elias. Have you ever wondered who you may have been in a previous epoch in time?
9. In John the Baptist's body, Elijah had his head chopped off as his spirit inhabited John's body apparently. And that still was not the end of him.
10. He showed up again with Moses on the mountain of transfiguration, along with another man, Moses who no one could determine what happened to his body. Interestingly Moses, like Elijah, had taken human life before. We will talk about the killers on either side of Jesus on the Mountain of Transfiguration, just like the two criminals who were on either side of Jesus on the cross at a later date.
According to Genesis 3:22-24, if Adam had simply partook of the fruit of the 'tree of Life', whle in a state of neutrality, that was in the midst of the Garden, he would have then entered into the next phase of divine evolution instead of becoming perpetually injured. Because of his choice to partake, instead of the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God determined that he must be kept back from the 'tree of life', which on God's part was both an act of punishment as well as an act of grace. Why? Adam would have remained, permanently and inescapably, in an evil and death-state, despite those intervals when he could recognize good. I suspect that the 'tree of knowledge' must have resembled broccoli, asparagus or some undesirable vegetable or fruit, because it did not appeal to Adam and he summarily rejected it. Most humanoids still commonly reject what is good for them! Asparagus? All I can say is, yuk!
One other thing that we should take note of that God mercifully removed Adam from access to the Garden and to the life tree; God did not on the other hand remove the tree itself with its life altering principle, which is still apparently available to all of us in the person of Jesus Christ. Was there an actual 'tree of life', or was this allegorical myth? I don't know, but the truth of it is not so far-fetched if you consider the bio-chemical-electronic functioning of the human brain. Aside from brain mass what is it that causes the brain to work? The answer is blood, electronic signals and chemicals, at least we know that much thus far!
You and I have frequently witnessned just how impaired many of our friends and relatives became as a result of imbibing or injesting mind-alterting hallucinogens, narcotics and other drugs. Just think about that, and consider what chemistry/mind and body altering substance may have been a part of 'the fruit' of the tree that the author described, that both Adam and Eve imbibed. Could it have been a lysing contingent, similar to the one mentioned in the Jurassic park movie, which was loosely based on the Jurassic period, early in the Earth's history?
What was the apparently chemical-altering hallucinogen, enzyme or drug within 'the fruit' that once consumed altered both Adam and Eve's DNA and RNA, or perhaps the cerbellum or frontal lobe where conscious thought occurs, and which when damaged can result in mood changes? Or were the parietal, occipital lobe,the limbic system or cerebral cortex forever impaired? Whatever occured, Adam and Eve were changed, and their offspring and descendants were forever changed.
Did Adam experience a high after imbibing the mind and body altering fruit, that was followed by a down period? I suspect that he did! Adam and Eve were both likely as high as a Georgia kite after consuming the fruit, and I suspect that they saw and understood a lot more than that they were naked! Can you imagine what took place in their minds and bodies, it would be the equivalent of someone today getting high off of some drug, and along with the experience they take can't wait to share the drug experience with someone else. Eve wanted Adam to get high too I believe, and to experience what she experienced. Can you imagine all of the new information that burst forth into her brain and consciousness, it gave new meaning to the word epiphany. But what about the after effects of the high and her experience, what all of us are dealing with today? In short, it was deadly!
However it occured Adam (literal tree or not), the husband (planter of the seed), his DNA was altered, and from then on his former perfectly formed and functioning body and mind became forever transmogrified. And not only Adam's, but everything and everyone that descended from his seed was altered. With respect to the animals 'gone wild', I will leave you to figure that one out; perhaps they got a bite to eat themselves. Now, did a prescient God entity know before the creation of the world that this setback would occur? Well, of course God did, ergo, the second Adam, the authentic 'tree of life', that contained the spiritual/chemical cure within his seed, Jesus Christ, was to be a part of the cycle that would ensue to repair the damage that was done and all who would injest his seed would be cured and entered into the next evolutionary change-cycle.
Having said that the life altering 'chemical or spirit' that was contained in an apparently physical tree of life, would had to have been the same ingredient as the one that is contained within the seed that is imparted to us through Jesus Christ - or it could have been a chemical that contained chemical alterting affects for humans that would have prevented sickness and death? Think about it, when you were a kid how many times when you were outside some place with your parents, did they forbid you from partaking of certain fruits or plants that appeared to be so appetizing, however they were toxic? Adam, had he simply gone to and partook of the 'tree of life', I suspect that the spirit would have immediately altered and catapulted Adam and all who are were still in his loins into the next phase of divine evolution!
IV. Folks, the spirit of man is not fixed/limited to a limited space-time continuum or what Paul referred to as a unintended 'body of death'. And, if anything, the spirit or soul of man is transcendent - and eventually we must get out of these time-bound bodies in order to continue our existence in limitless time-independent bodies. The Jews clearly believed in not only an afterlife, but a pre-life, and Jesus confirmed on more than one occasion that there was a pre as well as a post or afterlife. Many atheists are beginning to admit that their could be dimensions unknown to man, where extraterrestrials could reside - science has made a similar admission!
The Apostle Paul made a curious and often overlooked statement in the book of Thessalonians. Paul wrote that in terms of what we refer to as the rapture, that the dead in Christ would rise first, and that WE who are alive and remain should be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Paul clearly believed that he would be alive at the time that the rapture occurred. However, we all know that Paul was executed. If the rapture is still an event that will take place in the future, did Paul write in error given his belief that the rapture was to occur while he was still alive?
My point: Christians, there are many mistakes in recorded or interpretive Christian theology. Constantine's canon, which we refer to as the unadulterated word of God is laden with errors. And rather than admit it, many would simply prefer that we would sweep those errors under the proverbial rug. Not me? I am not afraid to say that the canon is error laden and flawed just as most things that have been touched by humans contain flaws. If anything, we should learn from the mistakes that either we or our predecessors have made, being in denial, ultimately, will not serve us.
Jesus promised us something else before he departed, and what he promised was not the canon - we have Emperor Constantine to thank for that. Jesus promised to send back, 'paracletos', another comforter. He also explained that paracletos would lead us, not the canon, into all truth. If we have paracletos, we have received 'the guide' to all truth.
The Apostle Paul apparently erred in terms of his understanding of the resurrection of the saints. And please don't be offended because I pointed it out. The Apostle Paul also erred when he set out to persecute the Christians on the road to Damascus, thank God that he was prohibited from any further carnage. I suspect that Paul like some of us did not believe in his own infallibility. In the book of Philippians the Apostle made it clear that he was 'still learning things', indeed, even to be content in whatever state that he found himself.
Summation: My friend was obviously concerned, and wondered why I was saying these things? I simply believe that it is time for humanity to move forward into the next stage of divine evolution. I believe that by purifying our faith, and leaving archaic principles and traditions behind us we can move on to the truth and what lies ahead of us, some of which will result when we embrace truth even scientific truth. I also believe that as long as we continue to hold on to primitive and outdated beliefs and ideas, and refuse to be brought forward, we will only hinder our own understanding, the understanding of others and ourselves. Besides, ignorance hinders a closer walk with the God that is trying to help us to uncover the truth. Enoch, as you will recall, walked so close with God, that God simply took him.
Fear and a need to hold on to traditional beliefs and customs, I believe is preventing us from growing into full knowledge of Jesus Christ, just as fear is keeping us from understanding and moving into the next stage of divine evolution. Fear of what, questioning old religious ideas? Do we really believe that we are 'going to be changed'? Do we really believe that we are going to 'be like the Divine"? I am not talking, in a secular sense, about astral projection. I am talking about what we understand from the scriptures, and God's spirit that we are going to evolve into a different state of being, not only in terms of consciousness but in form.
And that is why we are dying daily. Something must die out before it can be changed into its subsequent form. In terms of the law of nature as we know it, a seed must be placed into the ground before something new can grow from the ground. Unfortunately too many Christians, today, are ‘doped’ up on religion practice, as opposed to seeking actual truth. Christ’s objective was not to simply give us religion; rather, Christ’s ultimate objective was to transform the creation from the first man Adam’s seed, to the second Adam's seed, that of Jesus Christ. And the result of this transformation would be that human would be provided with the eternal life that we all desire, that God intended and Adam rejected.
If you have been born anothen, you have the seed of Jesus Christ within you. And as a result of the germination of that seed that is within you, certain transformations have already begun to take place, and others will follow eventually resulting in the final stage of your spiritual evolution from human to angel/Christlike form. When God created the universe as we know it, I believe that the seed of the universe was encoded with all God's instructions, including the various stages that life as we know it would 'grow through'.
In other words, everything that was to come into being or to die out - in its time- was enclosed within the seed before the world ever existed. In other words the full development cycle of God's creation, from start to finish, which would apparently span billions of human years was already written. At every stage of divine evolution, various evolutionary changes will occur, some of which we still have not experienced!
Many Christians have on occasion, frequently criticized the Jews saying that they refuse to move beyond the dispensation of the Law, into the dispensation of Grace and Truth. However, I believe that most Christians are stuck themselves, and unable to move beyond primitive and post-modern Christian theology and doctrine, to where they should be in the 21st century. Jesus referred to the 'mustard seed' in a conversation with the disciples. A mustard seed evolves from a tiny seedling into an enormous tree once it has completed its stages of development and growth.
And just as a tree or flower reaches its full potential and begins to flower or bear fruit, or just as a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly, some humans will eventually be transmogrified into their final life forms. Hopefully, our thinking will someday begin to follow suit and we will begin to learn and understand the directions that we have been given by the Master Scientist and creator of all things!
Christians, I am certain, will continue to dispute the findings of the scientific community, and some in the scientific world will likely continue to question Christian myth, tradition and dogma. However, as I explained to my friend, frankly, believers have more to fear from religion than they have to fear from the scientific community. The religious community does enough to damage itself without any help from other disciplines.
I recall the words of Jesus, when he once warned the self-righteous Pharisees that like dogmatic religion today, they that had 'heaven shut up'. Jesus warned the Pharisees, that they weren't going into the kingdom, and that they were responsible for keeping others from going into the kingdom. My friend eventually conceded during our discussion, that despite the churches disapproval to the contrary, that based upon his own studies, he actually believed in micro-evolution.
I agreed with his admitted position for there is plenty of evidence available that proves that all species have not remained unchanged as some creationists and intelligent designers would have us to believe. What is really sad is that my friend, like too many religious believers, has to be secretive about what he really believes for fear of punishment by his religious group.
Conclusion: I believe that God, the Alpha and Omega, the Great Spirit, the Singularity, the Unifying principle..., preplanned all of the evolutionary changes that have proceeded thus far. I believe that the entire plan from end to end was encoded before the foundation of the world; we have only experienced some of it. And I believe that there is still more to come, some things that we have not experienced yet. I believe that at some unknown future date life, as we have become accustomed it, to will go through another radical change which may complete our cycle in the universe as we currently know it. No man, not even the Son of Man knows the day or hour, when this next step in God's evolutionary cycle will take place.
I also believe that scientific, creationist and intelligent design dogma notwithstanding, that the final stage will represent just another stage in divine evolution! Now if you have concluded that this minister has not placed 100% of his confidence in an often error-laden canon, you are correct, there is too much at stake for one to simply rely upon one source. I would prefer to rely on all of the words that proceed and proceeded from God. I believe that if we seek all of revealed truth, that the Truth Will Find Us! And I suspect that the truth has been knocking on the door, however, too many worldly influences, especially religion, has prevented us from hearing its knock.
In most of our faiths, and to our detriment too many of have believed that we have an exclusive understanding of the truth, which tells me that in some respects, all of us must in part be in error. Will we ever be humble enough to admit it? I suspect that each of us ought to simply open up, reexamine our long-held beliefs test the voracity of our long-held beliefs, test the sources from which our beliefs are derived, and then begin all over again.
One thing that I know for certain is that not much has changed in the world of religion. The same, bickering, divisions, crucifixions, global wars and crusades, infighting and the rigorous defense of one's own beliefs or understanding have persisted. Being right for too many in religious circles, appears to be far more important than finding out 'what is right'!
Jeremiah almost lost his life, see Jeremiah the first and the eleventh chapters, when he was instructed to go to the religious zealots to root up, tear down and destroy their traditions and traditional beliefs. Afterwards, they were to go back and build all over again. From Jesus Christ until today, every minister, prophet or scientist who has ever tried to root up, tear down, destroy and build over again, has met with the similar fate which befell Jeremiah, ostracism, suspicion, accusation and imprisonment. If we are any closer to God today as an institution, particularly in America with our American Capitalist Corporate-Religious-Military ideals, I simply cannot see how.
For from this minister's point of view, IT IS TIME TO begin moving forward again for we are standing still, if not regressing. And in order to move forward, first of all we must go back and root up and discard many of our retrograde, fallacious, intolerant and unsubstantiated beliefs that we have held on to for all too long. Afterwards, we can begin all over again to prepare for the next step in God's divine evolutionary plan, by answering that knock at our doors, that brings us all of divine truth! For I say to all of those who are 'waiting for God', I suspect that God is, 'waiting for us' to grow up beyond self-serving religious practice and idealism. Ask yourself, could God live among us as it stands now, given our current existence of murder, crime, theft, bitterness, hatred and other vices.
Now if you still don't believe that what I am saying represents the truth, just ask yourself whether or not what you have been doing so far has been working, and whether or not it satisfies God? Or have you simply taken a position based upon what someone has taught you that is supposed to be the unadulterated truth; and you are determined to hold on to it regardless of all other evidence to the contrary? This is not heresy that I am referring to, God has always utilized disparate voices, among others things, in order to relate truth to his creation. Religious organizations must open themselves and their teachings up to scrutiny, just as the scientific community is doing.
Do you believe in divine healing, or do you subscribe to dispensational theology's take on divine healing? With regard to dispensational theologists, some dispensational theologists believe that divine healing was something that ended during the Apostolic period. We have evangelists today like Benny Hinn who claim that individuals were healed during their religious crusades. However, years ago when subjected to scrutiny and verification, it was determined that many of the individual claims of healing were in fact false. Now having said that, I am not a dispensational theologist, and I believe that God has healed many individuals since the close of the Apostolic period.
And just as divine healing occurred before, during and after the Apostolic period, those healings that took place were often visibly verifiable. In the same manner, religious institutions of today, ought to open themselves, their claims, teachings and dogma up to scrutiny, as opposed to saying, because we say or believe it, therefore it must be true.
There is too much at stake, for religious organizations to demand that other human simply rely on the good intentions of religious individuals, and their singular and dogmatic interpretations of a parochial or exclusive text. Having said that, one's philosophical understandings or beliefs in interpretive truth will not in any manner mitigate what is actually true, no matter how much fear is attached to it! Albeit doing so, could hinder or cause a lot of people to stumble.
God, the time independent evolutionary I Am, is apparently the evolutionary principle that continues to befuddle mankind, perhaps with the exception of members of our scientific community. It is Jesus Christ who in the person of God reported that I am life, I am the light, I am eternal life, I give eternal life; in other words I AM the evolutionary life giving and life changing principle! And isn't this the crux of the debate, naturalistic versus divine evolution?
And isn't this the motivation or praxis of most religious organizations, to impart eternity's motivation upon our lives, given that each one of us is driven towards living as opposed to dying?
Peace & Grace
Reverend C. Solomon
My oral position on Divine Evolution.
My motive: Each of one of us must remember that one day we will meet our creator on an individualized basis. Therefore, each one of us must take the responsibility for our own actions in this life, in order to ensure that we have done the things that God requires as opposed to what some well intentioned religious group believes or requires of us!
And if you disagree with my conclusion I simply ask you this: Don't Taze Me Bro!