Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, August 21, 2022
Can Opposite Viewpoints Both Be Correct?
The Pre-Adamite Theory (Part 2 of 2) by Dr. Raymond Finney
Rabbi’s Note: Shavuah Tov Everyone,
This is Rabbi Michael writing an additional preface to this week’s RR, written by Dr. Raymond Finney. Think for a moment about both the detail and the enormity of creation. In detail, down to the atomic level, creation is magnificent. Even one cell is a marvelous creation of chemicals and physics. There is no way even one cell could possibly create itself, much less more complex organisms.
Then, on the macro scale, look how the universe is organized. Stars, planets and moons all arranged “in their courses in the sky” (as the Bible states), in perfect synchrony, actually making (or keeping) time. God did it all beautifully and wonderfully, and it works (functions) just as He created it. The Bible never tries to tell us how God created, just that He did it. Must be because we don’t need to know how. But it’s okay to imagine, which is what Raymond is doing as he writes about it. As Raymond says, we don’t build our faith around “how” but around “Who.” Get that right and you’ll be fine. Blessings. R. Michael.
COMMENT: I started not to write this series, knowing it would upset some readers. The conventional interpretation of creation (Six-Day Theory) is that Elohim (God) created everything in six twenty-four hour days. We must suspend known physical laws to accommodate such a creation account. The argument is that God can do anything, even suspend laws of the Universe. No Believer would challenge the power of God. We were not present at creation, however. All we have are a few Bible verses to imagine creation. These verses can have more than one translation. I believe there is value in testing (challenging) our Bible knowledge, even creation knowledge. Truthfully, creation is a mystery that mere humans will never solve. Rather, creation is a matter of faith. Knowing WHO created us is more important than knowing HOW creation was accomplished. And, there are more important issues upon which all of us can and should dwell. Please accept my sincerest apology, if I have offended you. The greatest tribute to God is the use of our mental capabilities to think of Him!
INTRODUCTION: I conclude a two-part series on the Pre-Adamite Theory of creation, believed by some, but discounted by most Believers. Is the theory true? I have no way of knowing, but I find the theory most interesting. It comes closer than most creation theories in bridging the gap between Earth scientists’ research and the literal interpretation of Genesis (the Young Earth Theory) widely held by most fundamentalist Believers.
The traditional, literal six-day creation view is based on the English translation of two Hebrew words– words with several synonyms– in the Genesis account (the Parashat Bereshit, Genesis 1:1 – 6:8):
● Yom– yom, is usually translated “day,” a specific time period of twenty-four hours, but may also be translated as any indefinite time period, which could span millions or billions of years. Did Elohim (God) create the Earth in six twenty-four hour days or in six lengthy periods (eons)?
● Haya– haya may be translated “became” or “was.” After the first Earth creation, was the Earth devoid of all features, or did the Earth become devoid of features after the destruction of the First Earth and before re-creation of the Second Earth?
Continuing the discussion from Part 1, please consider more comments about the Pre-Adamite Theory:
● Three Earth ages? The Pre-Adamite Theory supports three Earth ages:
□ The First Earth Age: Elohim’s first creation (before Adam, a soul-bearing human) was a world which may have existed for billions of years and may have supported a variety of humanoid creatures without souls (Neanderthals, etc.). This Earth was destroyed– apparently because of Satan’s rebellion against God– and became chaos, desolate, and a waste.
□ The Second Earth Age: Elohim’s second creation– including humans with souls, Adam and Chavvah (Eve) – is the present world in which we live. This world is destined to future surface destruction by fire because of human sin, but will be rebuilt and support New Jerusalem (Heaven) throughout eternity. This second age is much younger than the first, and could even coincide with Bishop Ussher’s calculations of creation of Adam a few-thousand years ago.
□ The Third Earth Age: Elohim’s final, eternal Kingdom of God, still yet to come, will include the fiery destruction of Earth, the rebuilding of a New Earth, and the descent of Heaven (New Jerusalem) to this rejuvenated Earth.
SIDELIGHT: Yeshua’s disciples were aware of Earth ages. In the most important Olivet Discourse, they asked Him what would be the sign of the end of the age (Matthew 24:3). The word for “age,” here, is αἰῶνος (transliterated, aion || pronounced, ahee-OHN). This word, αἰῶνος, denotes a lengthy period of time. Our English word “eon” is derived from this Greek word. It is mistranslated as “world” in some versions (King James Version, for example). END sidelight.
The Apostle Peter hinted at such creation (2 Peter 3:4b-7): … [Scoffers will say] “Ever since the fathers died, everything goes on just as it has from the beginning of creation.” For in holding to this idea, it escapes their notice that the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God. Through these, the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded with water. But by the same word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire– kept until the Day of Judgment and the destruction of ungodly people. If Bishop Ussher’s calculation is correct, the world would have been created only slightly more than four-thousand years before Peter’s lifetime (Ussher’s creation = 4004 BC // Peter’s death = sometime between AD 64 to 68). Peter could have written, “the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,” because such creation occurred much longer in the past than his life.
If I understand the Pre-Adamite Theory correctly:
□ The world of the First Earth Age was destroyed by water and became chaotic.(“Became” is one translation of the Hebrew haya, but is usually rendered “was” in most Bible versions. “Became” versus “was” makes a great difference.)
□ Elohim created the world of the Second Earth Age, which was partially destroyed by Noah’s flood to rid the world of demonic hybrids. This world still exists and is our present home. God issued the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9:8-16), promising never again to destroy all life with a flood and setting a rainbow in the sky as a sign of the Covenant.
□ At the end of the Millennial Kingdom (in our future), the old Earth and the heavens will be destroyed by fire (see Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:10-13, and Revelation 21:1). The purpose for this destruction is two-fold: Firstly, all reminders of sin will be forever removed. Secondly, God can create a New Heaven and a New Earth. For Believers, the centerpiece of this new creation will be New Jerusalem, which we commonly call ”Heaven,” and which will descend to Earth to become the eternal home for God’s people. Read about this magnificent place in The Revelation, chapters 21 and 22.
● What could have created the division (gap) in time between the first and second creations? The Pre-Adamite Theory teaches two creations by Elohim (God). The first Earth was destroyed. The second (present) Earth was, then, created, even though partially destroyed later by Noah’s flood. A gap of time separated these two creations.
Why was the First Earth destroyed? Probably the best hint is found in Ezekiel, chapter 28. An enemy of Adonai, identified as the Prince of Tyre, was expelled from God’s presence because of the Prince’s arrogance and narcissism. Although scholars may disagree, many scholars hold that Satan was the Prince of Tyre. Other Scriptures describe the expulsion of Satan, who took one-third of the angels with him, when he was expelled from God’s presence (see Revelation 12:3-4).
Could Satan and his angelic followers (demons) have fallen to the First Earth? If so, was God so displeased with the evil pollution of the First Earth that He destroyed it? One troubling question: If Satan’s “angels” (demons) were destroyed, why did they exist in Yeshua’s lifetime and still exist in our lifetime?
SIDELIGHT (LENGTHY AND OFF THE SUBJECT): The Bible teaches there is an intermediate place for life between the present earthly life and a future eternal life (spent either in Heaven or in Hell). This intermediate world is the Believer’s Paradise. Paradise is not what the Catholics call “Purgatory.
Purgatory is a Roman Catholic teaching (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1030-1031). The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist churches have mixed messages about cleansing (purging) of sin after death and praying for the dead. The Catholic Church offers some Scriptures (especially from the Second Book of Maccabees, which we do not accept as part of our Holy Writ) to support the existence of Purgatory. Purgatory was not accepted as Catholic dogma until the late eleventh century.
Have people witnessed Paradise and lived to tell about it? Quite possibly! A near death experience (NDE) is a profound experience of a person seeming to be in another dimension (another world), as he/ she approaches clinical death. The Apostle Paul had a NDE, after being nearly stoned to death in Lystra (Acts 14:19-28). During Paul’s NDE, he experienced features common to NDEs reported today. The NDE phenomenon is now widespread, with the ready availability of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). One estimate is that the NDE has been experienced by 5 to 10 percent of the world’s population!
It is an interesting read to learn about some of these NDEs. Any search engine (DuckDuckGo, Google, Google Scholar, etc.) will provide you with abundant reading material. Searching under the topic “Near Death Experience” in Google Scholar provides more than four-million articles for your review!
The NDE is life-changing for many resuscitated patients. I have talked with resuscitated patients who experienced NDEs. These patients “know” the NDE was real, not a dream or hallucination. They witnessed things during their emergency care that could be known only to an eyewitness having an out-of-body experience. Examples: while unconscious and without a heartbeat, they floated above their bodies to look down and watch emergency personnel resuscitating their bodies; or, they passed effortlessly through walls to observe anxious, grieving relatives in the waiting lobby.
Those reporting a near-death experience are commonly pulled through the well-publicized dark tunnel toward a pinpoint of light. In their journey, the light becomes much larger and brighter. (Recall Yeshua said that He is the Light of the world– John 8:12.) They glimpse a serene place of beauty (Paradise?). There, they see relatives/ friends, who have preceded them in death. They never see persons still living (unless recent examples have been reported unbeknownst to me). They do not see Heaven, which is not yet descended to Earth (Revelation 21:1). As earlier stated: The Brit Chadashah clearly teaches that Believers enter Paradise immediately after death. For example:
● Yeshua told the malefactor who was crucified beside Him but who accepted Him as Savior before death (Luke 23:43): Yeshua said to him, “Amen, I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
● In describing his own NDE, Paul recognized he was in Paradise after his out-of-body experience (2 Corinthians 12:2-4): I know a man in Messiah (whether in the body I don’t know, or whether out of the body I don’t know– God knows) – fourteen years ago, he was caught up to the third heaven. I know such a man (whether in the body or outside of the body I don’t know, God knows) – he was caught up into Paradise and heard words too sacred to tell, which a human is not permitted to utter.
● Paul wrote that the transformation from a physical body on Earth to a spiritual body in Paradise is instantaneous (2 Corinthians 5:8): We are confident, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord.
Persons who experience a NDE find Paradise so wonderful that they wonder if a future Heaven can be even more wonderful. Many are deeply disappointed, when resuscitation restores them to earthly life. They want to stay!
An impressed Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 2:9): But as it is written, “Things no eye has seen and no ear has heard, that have not entered in the heart of mankind– these things God has prepared for those who love Him.”
As is common today for resuscitated patients who have experienced NDEs, Paul no longer feared death (1 Corinthians 15:50-55): Now I say this, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible will have put on incorruptibility and this mortal will have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?”
It is reported that Paul walked joyously to his death (death by beheading), singing, praying, and forgiving the Roman soldiers. And, why not? He was only minutes away from seeing His beloved Messiah once again (I repeat 2 Corinthians 5:8): We are confident, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord. END sidelight.
WHAT IF? After reading this brief, rambling discussion of the Pre-Adamite Theory, ask yourself:
● What if the Pre-Adamite Theory is correct?
● What if an ancient world existed before Adam and Chavvah (Eve)?
● What if God destroyed that first world to make way for a second world?
● What if the present (Second) Earth Age is recent (perhaps even only a few thousand years in age), but the First Earth Age (lasting billions of years) occurred first, before being destroyed?
● What if Earth scientists and Bible students are both correct? What if there were both ancient and recent creations? It does not diminish God to consider He can perform miracles more than one time.
● What if well-meaning Bible teachers have been teaching us an incorrect creation narrative (the Young Earth Theory), based on translation difficulties of ancient Hebrew words (does yom = “day” or “eon?” does haya = “was” or “became?”)? What if, in so doing, these teachers unknowingly created little more than a religious myth?
● What if humanoid creatures roamed the Earth for many, many years, before Elohim modified one of them, by giving him– this adam– God’s spirit (a soul) and establishing our ancestor Adam, a human created in God’s image?
● What if we need to study the Holy Writ more diligently to understand God’s Truth? What if a cursory reading of Scriptures– especially only one translation (version) without double-checking the original text and without critical, inquiring thought– is insufficient?
● What if it is possible to skim over hurriedly one translation and fail to understand God’s true message? Consider Proverbs 25:2: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out. What if God glorified Himself by concealing part of the creation mystery in Genesis and other books of the Bible? What if it is our glory to search out this hidden mystery?
● What if we should constantly question what we “know,” proving to ourselves that either our knowledge is correct or is faulty and needs to be corrected? As Akiroq Brost said: “Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it is necessarily true.” I suggest the most ancient Bible texts (the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts) available to us represent the Word of God, and we must not tamper with these holy writings. These words are sacred. We must not test God. But, translations (translations to English, for us) are the works of man, and we should feel free to test the accuracy of these translations.
Why do I say modern Bible versions (translations) are “works of man?” Read various translations side by side. Nuances between different translations will be found, which I suggest are due to the inevitable biases and opinions of the human translators. Look in any Bible Concordance (Strong’s Concordance, etc.), and you will find multiple synonyms for most ancient words. Translators were required to choose one of several synonyms, leaving the other synonyms behind. I would never argue against reading the Bible. Rather, read the Bible with an inquisitive mind. If something you read does not seem to comport with other Scriptures or your life experiences, it may be the Ruach ha-Kodesh encouraging you to study harder to find God’s true meaning for your life.
DO YOU PREFER TO BELIEVE “SCIENCE?” I pat myself on the back. I have purposefully restrained myself from writing anything negative in this RR about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution– evolution without a Master Creator– which I consider ludicrous. Darwin published his On the Origin of Species in 1859. This book has become the “Bible” for atheists and agnostics. Proponents of evolution smugly proclaim, “See? We were just created from nothing with no Divine influence. There is no need for a God. ‘Science’ has proven evolution, and– drum roll, please– the science is settled.”
Darwin, a naturalist, geologist and biologist, knew nothing about DNA and complicated cellular biology and physiology (which were discovered only after his death). I have spent a lifetime studying human cells. A single human cell, so small it can be seen only under a microscope, is more complicated than a modern city. To believe life (that is, the vast multitude of cells) just– shazaam! – developed from nothing, even given a long period of time, takes far more faith than to believe there is a Divine Intelligence (a Creator God), who created all we see– and even more that we cannot see but only imagine.
People may reject any Bible-based creation, preferring to believe “science.” For findings to be acceptable to the world’s scientists, the scientific method must be employed. The scientific method consists of several steps, such as:
● Make an observation or ask a question. [Scientists– with busy, fertile minds– are constantly thinking why things around them are as they seem to be.]
● Conduct research (experimentation) to gather information (data) about the observation or questions. [Research is highly organized and consists of a number of steps other scientists demand to be followed. The research team almost always includes a Ph.D.-level statistician to ensure that proper research steps are taken to ensure the purity of the observations, to collect data without interference from or knowledge of the researchers, and to apply statistical methods to determine whether the observed data are statistically significant.]
● Create a hypothesis. [A hypothesis is an explanation for the observation or asked question, which, if ultimately proven and accepted, can become a fact.]
● Create predictions and perform tests to prove or disprove the observation or asked question. [The researchers and statistician must take care that the research study follows accepted guidelines and is free of any bias.]
● Analyze results of the tests and draw conclusions. [Thought must be carefully given to what the test data show.]
● Share the conclusions with the world to permit others to discover any errors or faulty reasoning and to determine what future challenges (testing) should be instituted. [Data are almost always printed in a journal, after the data are peer-reviewed and analyzed by the journal’s editorial board. Now, articles are also likely to be made available through the Internet, and can be accessed at Google Scholar, https://scholar.google.com/ . Great site!]
Fitting Darwinian evolution into the scientific method is difficult. How can we re-create the conditions of the ancient world? How can we conduct the experiment for millions/ billions of years? How can we know– and how can we re-create– the many different conditions that lasted over those hundreds of millions of years?
There is one viewpoint of “theistic evolution.” Theistic evolutionists believe that God used/ directed evolutionary steps to create the many species of plants and animals throughout today’s world. Know that the DNA of any plant/ animal is exquisitely sensitive. Substituting a single amino acid in a long chain of amino acids (a protein) may so alter the function of the protein that it becomes useless or harmful to the plant/ animal. I have no problem accepting theistic evolution, provided we recognize the evolution comes through the will and direction of God and not through random chance occurrences.
SIDELIGHT: Politicians and others who are smug in their own “wisdom” like to end debate by saying, “The science is settled.” I believe Hillary Clinton in one of the presidential debates tried to smother any discussion of climate change by declaring: “I believe in science. The science is settled.” No, science must never be considered as settled. “Science” is merely the accumulated– and still accumulating– knowledge that most students in a given field accept as likely accurate (and almost always successfully challenged by statistical methods). But, “science” is always subject to change, as new information becomes available. For example: a few centuries ago, the world’s scientists agreed the Earth was flat. We now know the Earth is a sphere.
Be careful that someone silences you “because the science is settled.” Science is never settled. “Science” is a robust, living thing, which is always subject to change, as better information becomes available. It is appropriate to discuss best available information, but inappropriate not explore other solutions by censoring reasonable possibilities. “Settled science” is a cheap conversation stopper, uttered by a non-scientist. People who love to argue have a rich arsenal of “conversation stoppers” (racist, homophobe, transphobe, climate denier, etc.). Do not be silenced, if you speak on the authority of the Bible! Just make certain you quote the Bible (and scientific information) correctly. END sidelight.
FINALLY– GOD’S MYSTERY: I have not explained well the Pre-Adamite Theory. If you have read both RRs, you may be confused. Among Bible students, most scoff at and only a small number believe this theory. Admittedly, supporting evidence is sparse. I apologize that I have only touched the high points of the theory. However, I believe I have covered enough to start you on a deeper study, if you are interested. We learn more, when we personally solve a problem than if we are “spoon fed” knowledge.
Creation of the Universe, the Earth, and life on Earth has long baffled scientists and theologians. No one has a concrete answer about creation, even today. I have trouble understanding/ accepting most creation theories. Difficulty in understanding creation revolves around a basic, very personal question– Why was I (why were you) created? The answer is known only to God. This “why” is another of God’s mysteries. Neither you nor I can answer this question because we do not understand God’s mind (Isaiah 55:8-9): “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
To answer my question of why God created you and me, consider such Bible passages as: Psalm 139:13-16, Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Colossians 1:16, and more. God created humankind for a purpose, but, sadly, we humans far too often ignore that purpose! I am now an octogenarian, and I can see the many, many ways I have failed God, my family, and my neighbors. Even the Apostle Paul lamented his failures of serving and following Yeshua.
To understand creation, a Believer must remain steadfast in believing the opening of the Bible (Genesis 1:1): In the beginning God created…. In spite of many scientists and theologians pondering creation, the answer to a basic question– Why did God create the Universe? – remains a mysterious matter of faith. The best any Believer can do in understanding creation is to put down Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and take up God’s Holy Bible, committing to heart five words from Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created…. The “Who” of creation is more important than the “how” of creation. By faith, we can understand Who created the Universe. We probably can never understand how it was created.
Everything about creation is a mystery and will probably remain a mystery until scrolls are opened in Heaven and we can see clearly. The Apostle Paul lamented about his imperfect earthly knowledge, but reassured us that we will all someday know perfectly in Heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12): For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Several Bible passages speak of God’s mysteries, which even God’s prophets and messengers could not solve. For example, Paul wrote (2 Corinthians 2:6-7): We do speak wisdom, however, among those who are mature– but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. Rather, we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery– a wisdom that has been hidden, which God destined for our glory before the ages.
I hope when we enter New Jerusalem that we can go to “school” and have angels teach us the meanings of and answers to God’s mysteries (mysteries = hidden knowledge) that perplexed us on Earth. One mystery I would like answered is: Why do good people (God’s children) suffer bad things (Satanic trials)? I have a thought on this question, but it is probably not correct. (If I have an angel assigned to me and he is making a list of all the things he needs to correct in my thinking, he probably will need a “vacation” after I die before he can set me straight. An oddball question just occurred to me: If an angel lives in Heaven and would like to take a “vacation,” where would he go?)
Did everything we see, which is just a speck of what we cannot yet see, just happen with a “big bang” from a Gravitational Singularity (Space-Time Singularity), which was a tiny point where all laws of physics were abolished, but which contained all of the Universe’s future energy and mass? Or, did an all-powerful God merely speak the Universe and everything in it into existence?
We should agree with King David (Psalm 8:4-10): When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You established– what is man, that You are mindful of him? And the son of man, that You care for him? Yet You made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and majesty! You gave him dominion over the works of Your hands. You put all things under their feet: all sheep and oxen, and also beasts of the field, birds in the air, and fish in the ocean– all passing through the paths of the seas. Adonai our Lord, how excellent is Your Name over all the earth! Until next Sunday, Shalom and Maranatha.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 21-Aug-2022 24th of Av, 5782
De 11:26-12:10 Eze 46 1 Ch 20 (Jn 9) Tit 2