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Reinventing The Sacred
Reinventing The Sacred
by Stuart A. Kauffman
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from $65.31

5.0 out of 5 stars THE BIOLOGIST PROPOSES THAT “THE CREATIVITY IN NATURE IS GOD ENOUGH”, June 24, 2015
This review is from: Reinventing The Sacred (Paperback)
Stuart Kauffman (born 1939) is an American theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher concerning the origin of life on Earth. He has also written At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity and The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution.

[NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 319-page standard print edition.]
\
He wrote in the Preface to this 2008 book, “I will present a new view of a fully natural God and of the sacred, based on a new, emerging scientific worldview. This new worldview reaches further than science itself and invites a new view of god, the sacred, and ourselves---ultimately including our science, art, ethics, politics, and spirituality… It is not some tortured interpretation of fundamentally lifeless facts that prompts me to say this; the science itself compels it… In this book I will demonstrate the inadequacy of reductionism… I shall show that biology and its evolution cannot be reduced to physics alone but stand in their own right. Life, and with it agency, came naturally to exist in the universe. With agency came values, meaning, and doing, all of which are as real in the universe as particles in motion… while life, agency, value, and doing presumably have physical explanations in any specific organism, the evolutionary emergence of these cannot be derived from or reduced to physics alone. Thus, life, agency, value, and doing are real in the universe. This stance is called emergence…

“This web of life, the most complex system we know of in the universe, breaks no law of physics, yet is partially lawless, ceaselessly creative. So, too, are human history and human lives. This creativity is stunning, awesome, and worthy of reverence. One view of God is that God is our chosen name for the ceaseless creativity in the natural universe, biosphere, and human cultures.” (Pg. ix-xi)

He adds, “I believe we need a domain for our lives as wide as reality. If half of us believe in a supernatural God, science will not disprove that belief. We need a place for our spirituality, and a Creator God is one such place. I hold that it is we who have invented God, to serve as our most powerful symbol. It is our choice how wisely to use our own symbol to orient our lives and our civilizations. I believe we can reinvent the sacred. We can invent a global ethic, in a shared space, safe to all of us, with one view of God as the natural creativity in the universe.” (Pg. xii-xiii)

In the first chapter, he explains, “Part of my goal is to disclose newly discovered limitations to the reductionism that has dominated Western science at least since Galileo and Newton but leaves us in a meaningless world of facts devoid of values. In its place I will propose a worldview beyond reductionism, in which we are members of a universe of ceaseless creativity in which life, agency, meaning, value, consciousness, and the full richness of human action have emerged… we will find grounds to radically alter our understanding of what science itself appears able to tell us. Science cannot foretell the evolution of the biosphere, of human technologies, or of human culture or history. A central implication of this new worldview is that we are co-creators of a universe, biosphere, and culture of endlessly novel creativity.” (Pg. 2-3)

He admits, “Then there is the brute fact that we humans (at least) are conscious. We have experiences. We do not understand consciousness yet. There is no doubt that it is real in humans and presumably among many animals. No one knows the basis of it. I will advance a scientifically improbable, but possible, and philosophically interesting hypothesis about consciousness that is, ultimately, testable. Whatever its source, consciousness is emergent and a real feature of the universe.” (Pg. 4)

He suggests, “We appear to need a new conceptual framework to see and say this, then to understand and orient ourselves in our ever creative world. We will find ourselves far beyond reductionism, indeed. It is, then, more amazing to think that an Abrahamic transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient God created everything around us, all that we participate in, in six days, or that it all arose with no transcendent Creator God, all on its own? I believe the latter is to stunning, so overwhelming, so worthy of awe, gratitude, and respect, that it is God enough for many of us. God, a fully natural God, is the very creativity of the universe. It is this view that I hope can be shared across all our religious traditions, embracing those like myself, who do not believe in a Creator God, as well as those who do. This view of God can be a shared religious and spiritual space for us all.” (Pg. 6)

He concludes, “Some secular humanists are spiritual but most are not. We are thus cut off from a deep aspect of our humanity. Humans have led intricate and meaningful spiritual lives for thousands of years, and many secular humanists are bereft of it. Reinventing the sacred as our response to the emergent creativity in the universe can open secular humanists to the legitimacy of their own spirituality… If we are members of a universe in which emergence and ceaseless creativity abound, if we take that creativity as a sense of God we can share, the resulting sense of the sacredness of all of life and the planet can help orient our lives beyond the consumerism and commodification the industrialized world now lives, heal the split between reason and faith, heal the split between science and the humanities, heal the want of spirituality, health the wound derived from the false reductionist belief that we live in a world of fact without values, and help us jointly build a global ethic. These are what is at stake in finding a new scientific worldview that enables us to reinvent the sacred.” (Pg. 8-9)

He (perhaps surprisingly) argues against the concept of a “multiverse”: “The weak anthropic principle, with its possibility of multiple universes, raises troubling questions about how well our scientists are adhering to the fundamentals of science. If we are to postulate multiple universes yet can have no access to them and cannot confirm their existence, have we actually explained anything at all? Perhaps someday we will manage to find evidence of multiple universes. Until then, the weak anthropic principle seems to stand on shaky evidential grounds.” (Pg. 30)

He proposes, “My own theory of collectively autocatalytic sets suggests that their formation is highly probable… If correct, the routes to molecular reproduction may be much easier than we have imagined, and constitute a form of fully emergent, spontaneous self-organization of a chemical-reaction system. Such emergence would not be reducible to physics. And life, in the sense of molecular reproduction, would be expected, not incredibly improbable. If so, our view of life changes radically. Not only does life not need special intervention by a Creator God, it is a natural, emergent expression of the routine creativity of the universe.” (Pg. 59)

He asserts, “We cannot write down the laws of the evolution of the biosphere. Nor can we simulate the evolution of our specific biosphere, because we can neither carry out the infinity of simulations that would be required nor confirm which is correct with respect to the throws of the quantum dice that occurred in our actual biosphere. In addition, the principle of natural selection can apply to many versions of life capable of heritable variation. So natural selection cannot be reduced to any specific physical basis---the philosophical multiple-platform argument.” (Pg. 86) Later, he adds, “emergence is not rare. It is all around us… We truly need a new worldview… self organization, order for free, is as much a part of evolution and natural selection as historically frozen accidents. We must rethink evolution.” (Pg. 119)

He summarizes, “we appear to move… beyond the spell… that ‘all’ would someday be covered by sufficient natural law. In its place we find a profound partial lawlessness… we will find ceaseless creativity in the universe, biosphere and human life. In that creativity we can find one sense of God that we can share. This is, I believe, the core of why we have wanted a supernatural God. Such a God may exist, but we do not need that supernatural God. The creativity in nature is God enough… From that new sacred, we can hope to invent a global ethic to orient our lives, and our emerging global civilization.” (Pg. 142) He adds, “God as the creativity in the universe can, I believe, offer us a view in which the sacred and the moral remain utterly valid. So I want to say that I am sympathetic with the feelings and beliefs of those who espouse intelligent design. But as science, it fails.” (Pg. 144)

He explains, “I am hardly the first person to assert that consciousness may be related to quantum phenomena… I will … suggest that consciousness is associated with a poised state between quantum ‘coherent’ behavior and what is called ‘decoherence’ of quantum possibilities to ‘classical’ actual events… I warn you that this hypothesis is highly controversial… Yet as we will see, there appear to be grounds to investigate it seriously.” (Pg. 197) He continues, “Yet if it should turn out that quantum mechanics is deeply involved in conscious experience, it might help resolve … longstanding philosophical problems. First is the problem of free will… Even if these issues are resolved, we still face the central difficult problem: awareness itself…” (Pg. 198-199)

He states, “The cornerstone of my theory is that the conscious mind is a persistently poised quantum-coherent-decoherent system, forever propagating quantum coherent behavior, yet forever also decohering to classical behavior… mind, consciousness… is identical with quantum coherent immaterial possibilities, or with partially coherent quantum behavior, yet via decoherence, the quantum decoherent mind has consequences that approach classical behavior so very closely that the mind can have consequences that create actual physical events by the emergence of classicity. Thus… Immaterial mind has consequences for matter.” (Pg. 209) But later, he admits, “this is still no answer, as least as yet, to the hard problem [of consciousness]. Perhaps one day, I will become part of an answer.” (Pg. 227)

He concludes, “In the face of this unknowing, many find security in faith in God. We can also choose to face this unknown using our own full human responsibility, without appealing to a Creator God, even though we cannot know everything we need to know. On contemplation, there is something sublime in this action in the face of uncertainty. Our faith and courage are, in fact, sacred---they are our persistent choice for life itself.” (Pg. 245) He adds, “Seeking a new vision of the real world and our place in it has been a central aim of this book---to find common ground between science and religion so that we might collectively reinvent the sacred.” (Pg. 281) He adds, “The view I discuss… sees nature itself as the generator of the vast creativity around us. Is not this new view… based on an expanded science, God enough? Is not nature itself creativity enough? What more do we really need of a God, if we also accept that we, at last, are responsible to the best of our forever-limited wisdom?” (Pg. 283) He summarizes, “This sense of God enlarges Western humanism for those who do not believe in a Creator God. It invites those who hold to a supernatural Creator God to sustain that faith, but to allow the creativity in the universe to be a further source of meaning and membership. I hope this sense of God and the sacred can be a safe, spiritual space we can all share.” (Pg. 285)

This book illustrates a fascinating new and creative direction in Kauffman’s thought. (Although I certainly wouldn’t “hold my breath” waiting for religious believers to embrace his concept of God…) It will interest those studying the contemporary philosophy, progressive forms of religion/spirituality, and perhaps even fans of Kauffman's earlier books.


By Stuart A. Kauffman Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion (First Trade Paper Edition)
By Stuart A. Kauffman Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion (First Trade Paper Edition)
7 used & new from $9.40

5.0 out of 5 stars THE BIOLOGIST PROPOSES THAT “THE CREATIVITY IN NATURE IS GOD ENOUGH”, June 24, 2015
Stuart Kauffman (born 1939) is an American theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher concerning the origin of life on Earth. He has also written At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity and The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution.

He wrote in the Preface to this 2008 book, “I will present a new view of a fully natural God and of the sacred, based on a new, emerging scientific worldview. This new worldview reaches further than science itself and invites a new view of god, the sacred, and ourselves---ultimately including our science, art, ethics, politics, and spirituality… It is not some tortured interpretation of fundamentally lifeless facts that prompts me to say this; the science itself compels it… In this book I will demonstrate the inadequacy of reductionism… I shall show that biology and its evolution cannot be reduced to physics alone but stand in their own right. Life, and with it agency, came naturally to exist in the universe. With agency came values, meaning, and doing, all of which are as real in the universe as particles in motion… while life, agency, value, and doing presumably have physical explanations in any specific organism, the evolutionary emergence of these cannot be derived from or reduced to physics alone. Thus, life, agency, value, and doing are real in the universe. This stance is called emergence…

“This web of life, the most complex system we know of in the universe, breaks no law of physics, yet is partially lawless, ceaselessly creative. So, too, are human history and human lives. This creativity is stunning, awesome, and worthy of reverence. One view of God is that God is our chosen name for the ceaseless creativity in the natural universe, biosphere, and human cultures.” (Pg. ix-xi)

He adds, “I believe we need a domain for our lives as wide as reality. If half of us believe in a supernatural God, science will not disprove that belief. We need a place for our spirituality, and a Creator God is one such place. I hold that it is we who have invented God, to serve as our most powerful symbol. It is our choice how wisely to use our own symbol to orient our lives and our civilizations. I believe we can reinvent the sacred. We can invent a global ethic, in a shared space, safe to all of us, with one view of God as the natural creativity in the universe.” (Pg. xii-xiii)

In the first chapter, he explains, “Part of my goal is to disclose newly discovered limitations to the reductionism that has dominated Western science at least since Galileo and Newton but leaves us in a meaningless world of facts devoid of values. In its place I will propose a worldview beyond reductionism, in which we are members of a universe of ceaseless creativity in which life, agency, meaning, value, consciousness, and the full richness of human action have emerged… we will find grounds to radically alter our understanding of what science itself appears able to tell us. Science cannot foretell the evolution of the biosphere, of human technologies, or of human culture or history. A central implication of this new worldview is that we are co-creators of a universe, biosphere, and culture of endlessly novel creativity.” (Pg. 2-3)

He admits, “Then there is the brute fact that we humans (at least) are conscious. We have experiences. We do not understand consciousness yet. There is no doubt that it is real in humans and presumably among many animals. No one knows the basis of it. I will advance a scientifically improbable, but possible, and philosophically interesting hypothesis about consciousness that is, ultimately, testable. Whatever its source, consciousness is emergent and a real feature of the universe.” (Pg. 4)

He suggests, “We appear to need a new conceptual framework to see and say this, then to understand and orient ourselves in our ever creative world. We will find ourselves far beyond reductionism, indeed. It is, then, more amazing to think that an Abrahamic transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient God created everything around us, all that we participate in, in six days, or that it all arose with no transcendent Creator God, all on its own? I believe the latter is to stunning, so overwhelming, so worthy of awe, gratitude, and respect, that it is God enough for many of us. God, a fully natural God, is the very creativity of the universe. It is this view that I hope can be shared across all our religious traditions, embracing those like myself, who do not believe in a Creator God, as well as those who do. This view of God can be a shared religious and spiritual space for us all.” (Pg. 6)

He concludes, “Some secular humanists are spiritual but most are not. We are thus cut off from a deep aspect of our humanity. Humans have led intricate and meaningful spiritual lives for thousands of years, and many secular humanists are bereft of it. Reinventing the sacred as our response to the emergent creativity in the universe can open secular humanists to the legitimacy of their own spirituality… If we are members of a universe in which emergence and ceaseless creativity abound, if we take that creativity as a sense of God we can share, the resulting sense of the sacredness of all of life and the planet can help orient our lives beyond the consumerism and commodification the industrialized world now lives, heal the split between reason and faith, heal the split between science and the humanities, heal the want of spirituality, health the wound derived from the false reductionist belief that we live in a world of fact without values, and help us jointly build a global ethic. These are what is at stake in finding a new scientific worldview that enables us to reinvent the sacred.” (Pg. 8-9)

He (perhaps surprisingly) argues against the concept of a “multiverse”: “The weak anthropic principle, with its possibility of multiple universes, raises troubling questions about how well our scientists are adhering to the fundamentals of science. If we are to postulate multiple universes yet can have no access to them and cannot confirm their existence, have we actually explained anything at all? Perhaps someday we will manage to find evidence of multiple universes. Until then, the weak anthropic principle seems to stand on shaky evidential grounds.” (Pg. 30)

He proposes, “My own theory of collectively autocatalytic sets suggests that their formation is highly probable… If correct, the routes to molecular reproduction may be much easier than we have imagined, and constitute a form of fully emergent, spontaneous self-organization of a chemical-reaction system. Such emergence would not be reducible to physics. And life, in the sense of molecular reproduction, would be expected, not incredibly improbable. If so, our view of life changes radically. Not only does life not need special intervention by a Creator God, it is a natural, emergent expression of the routine creativity of the universe.” (Pg. 59)

He asserts, “We cannot write down the laws of the evolution of the biosphere. Nor can we simulate the evolution of our specific biosphere, because we can neither carry out the infinity of simulations that would be required nor confirm which is correct with respect to the throws of the quantum dice that occurred in our actual biosphere. In addition, the principle of natural selection can apply to many versions of life capable of heritable variation. So natural selection cannot be reduced to any specific physical basis---the philosophical multiple-platform argument.” (Pg. 86) Later, he adds, “emergence is not rare. It is all around us… We truly need a new worldview… self organization, order for free, is as much a part of evolution and natural selection as historically frozen accidents. We must rethink evolution.” (Pg. 119)

He summarizes, “we appear to move… beyond the spell… that ‘all’ would someday be covered by sufficient natural law. In its place we find a profound partial lawlessness… we will find ceaseless creativity in the universe, biosphere and human life. In that creativity we can find one sense of God that we can share. This is, I believe, the core of why we have wanted a supernatural God. Such a God may exist, but we do not need that supernatural God. The creativity in nature is God enough… From that new sacred, we can hope to invent a global ethic to orient our lives, and our emerging global civilization.” (Pg. 142) He adds, “God as the creativity in the universe can, I believe, offer us a view in which the sacred and the moral remain utterly valid. So I want to say that I am sympathetic with the feelings and beliefs of those who espouse intelligent design. But as science, it fails.” (Pg. 144)

He explains, “I am hardly the first person to assert that consciousness may be related to quantum phenomena… I will … suggest that consciousness is associated with a poised state between quantum ‘coherent’ behavior and what is called ‘decoherence’ of quantum possibilities to ‘classical’ actual events… I warn you that this hypothesis is highly controversial… Yet as we will see, there appear to be grounds to investigate it seriously.” (Pg. 197) He continues, “Yet if it should turn out that quantum mechanics is deeply involved in conscious experience, it might help resolve … longstanding philosophical problems. First is the problem of free will… Even if these issues are resolved, we still face the central difficult problem: awareness itself…” (Pg. 198-199)

He states, “The cornerstone of my theory is that the conscious mind is a persistently poised quantum-coherent-decoherent system, forever propagating quantum coherent behavior, yet forever also decohering to classical behavior… mind, consciousness… is identical with quantum coherent immaterial possibilities, or with partially coherent quantum behavior, yet via decoherence, the quantum decoherent mind has consequences that approach classical behavior so very closely that the mind can have consequences that create actual physical events by the emergence of classicity. Thus… Immaterial mind has consequences for matter.” (Pg. 209) But later, he admits, “this is still no answer, as least as yet, to the hard problem [of consciousness]. Perhaps one day, I will become part of an answer.” (Pg. 227)

He concludes, “In the face of this unknowing, many find security in faith in God. We can also choose to face this unknown using our own full human responsibility, without appealing to a Creator God, even though we cannot know everything we need to know. On contemplation, there is something sublime in this action in the face of uncertainty. Our faith and courage are, in fact, sacred---they are our persistent choice for life itself.” (Pg. 245) He adds, “Seeking a new vision of the real world and our place in it has been a central aim of this book---to find common ground between science and religion so that we might collectively reinvent the sacred.” (Pg. 281) He adds, “The view I discuss… sees nature itself as the generator of the vast creativity around us. Is not this new view… based on an expanded science, God enough? Is not nature itself creativity enough? What more do we really need of a God, if we also accept that we, at last, are responsible to the best of our forever-limited wisdom?” (Pg. 283) He summarizes, “This sense of God enlarges Western humanism for those who do not believe in a Creator God. It invites those who hold to a supernatural Creator God to sustain that faith, but to allow the creativity in the universe to be a further source of meaning and membership. I hope this sense of God and the sacred can be a safe, spiritual space we can all share.” (Pg. 285)

This book illustrates a fascinating new and creative direction in Kauffman’s thought. (Although I certainly wouldn’t “hold my breath” waiting for religious believers to embrace his concept of God…) It will interest those studying the contemporary philosophy, progressive forms of religion/spirituality, and perhaps even fans of Kauffman's earlier books.


Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion
Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion
by Stuart Kauffman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.52
70 used & new from $3.29

5.0 out of 5 stars THE BIOLOGIST PROPOSES THAT “THE CREATIVITY IN NATURE IS GOD ENOUGH”, June 24, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Stuart Kauffman (born 1939) is an American theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher concerning the origin of life on Earth. He has also written At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity and The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution.

He wrote in the Preface to this 2008 book, “I will present a new view of a fully natural God and of the sacred, based on a new, emerging scientific worldview. This new worldview reaches further than science itself and invites a new view of god, the sacred, and ourselves---ultimately including our science, art, ethics, politics, and spirituality… It is not some tortured interpretation of fundamentally lifeless facts that prompts me to say this; the science itself compels it… In this book I will demonstrate the inadequacy of reductionism… I shall show that biology and its evolution cannot be reduced to physics alone but stand in their own right. Life, and with it agency, came naturally to exist in the universe. With agency came values, meaning, and doing, all of which are as real in the universe as particles in motion… while life, agency, value, and doing presumably have physical explanations in any specific organism, the evolutionary emergence of these cannot be derived from or reduced to physics alone. Thus, life, agency, value, and doing are real in the universe. This stance is called emergence…

“This web of life, the most complex system we know of in the universe, breaks no law of physics, yet is partially lawless, ceaselessly creative. So, too, are human history and human lives. This creativity is stunning, awesome, and worthy of reverence. One view of God is that God is our chosen name for the ceaseless creativity in the natural universe, biosphere, and human cultures.” (Pg. ix-xi)

He adds, “I believe we need a domain for our lives as wide as reality. If half of us believe in a supernatural God, science will not disprove that belief. We need a place for our spirituality, and a Creator God is one such place. I hold that it is we who have invented God, to serve as our most powerful symbol. It is our choice how wisely to use our own symbol to orient our lives and our civilizations. I believe we can reinvent the sacred. We can invent a global ethic, in a shared space, safe to all of us, with one view of God as the natural creativity in the universe.” (Pg. xii-xiii)

In the first chapter, he explains, “Part of my goal is to disclose newly discovered limitations to the reductionism that has dominated Western science at least since Galileo and Newton but leaves us in a meaningless world of facts devoid of values. In its place I will propose a worldview beyond reductionism, in which we are members of a universe of ceaseless creativity in which life, agency, meaning, value, consciousness, and the full richness of human action have emerged… we will find grounds to radically alter our understanding of what science itself appears able to tell us. Science cannot foretell the evolution of the biosphere, of human technologies, or of human culture or history. A central implication of this new worldview is that we are co-creators of a universe, biosphere, and culture of endlessly novel creativity.” (Pg. 2-3)

He admits, “Then there is the brute fact that we humans (at least) are conscious. We have experiences. We do not understand consciousness yet. There is no doubt that it is real in humans and presumably among many animals. No one knows the basis of it. I will advance a scientifically improbable, but possible, and philosophically interesting hypothesis about consciousness that is, ultimately, testable. Whatever its source, consciousness is emergent and a real feature of the universe.” (Pg. 4)

He suggests, “We appear to need a new conceptual framework to see and say this, then to understand and orient ourselves in our ever creative world. We will find ourselves far beyond reductionism, indeed. It is, then, more amazing to think that an Abrahamic transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient God created everything around us, all that we participate in, in six days, or that it all arose with no transcendent Creator God, all on its own? I believe the latter is to stunning, so overwhelming, so worthy of awe, gratitude, and respect, that it is God enough for many of us. God, a fully natural God, is the very creativity of the universe. It is this view that I hope can be shared across all our religious traditions, embracing those like myself, who do not believe in a Creator God, as well as those who do. This view of God can be a shared religious and spiritual space for us all.” (Pg. 6)

He concludes, “Some secular humanists are spiritual but most are not. We are thus cut off from a deep aspect of our humanity. Humans have led intricate and meaningful spiritual lives for thousands of years, and many secular humanists are bereft of it. Reinventing the sacred as our response to the emergent creativity in the universe can open secular humanists to the legitimacy of their own spirituality… If we are members of a universe in which emergence and ceaseless creativity abound, if we take that creativity as a sense of God we can share, the resulting sense of the sacredness of all of life and the planet can help orient our lives beyond the consumerism and commodification the industrialized world now lives, heal the split between reason and faith, heal the split between science and the humanities, heal the want of spirituality, health the wound derived from the false reductionist belief that we live in a world of fact without values, and help us jointly build a global ethic. These are what is at stake in finding a new scientific worldview that enables us to reinvent the sacred.” (Pg. 8-9)

He (perhaps surprisingly) argues against the concept of a “multiverse”: “The weak anthropic principle, with its possibility of multiple universes, raises troubling questions about how well our scientists are adhering to the fundamentals of science. If we are to postulate multiple universes yet can have no access to them and cannot confirm their existence, have we actually explained anything at all? Perhaps someday we will manage to find evidence of multiple universes. Until then, the weak anthropic principle seems to stand on shaky evidential grounds.” (Pg. 30)

He proposes, “My own theory of collectively autocatalytic sets suggests that their formation is highly probable… If correct, the routes to molecular reproduction may be much easier than we have imagined, and constitute a form of fully emergent, spontaneous self-organization of a chemical-reaction system. Such emergence would not be reducible to physics. And life, in the sense of molecular reproduction, would be expected, not incredibly improbable. If so, our view of life changes radically. Not only does life not need special intervention by a Creator God, it is a natural, emergent expression of the routine creativity of the universe.” (Pg. 59)

He asserts, “We cannot write down the laws of the evolution of the biosphere. Nor can we simulate the evolution of our specific biosphere, because we can neither carry out the infinity of simulations that would be required nor confirm which is correct with respect to the throws of the quantum dice that occurred in our actual biosphere. In addition, the principle of natural selection can apply to many versions of life capable of heritable variation. So natural selection cannot be reduced to any specific physical basis---the philosophical multiple-platform argument.” (Pg. 86) Later, he adds, “emergence is not rare. It is all around us… We truly need a new worldview… self organization, order for free, is as much a part of evolution and natural selection as historically frozen accidents. We must rethink evolution.” (Pg. 119)

He summarizes, “we appear to move… beyond the spell… that ‘all’ would someday be covered by sufficient natural law. In its place we find a profound partial lawlessness… we will find ceaseless creativity in the universe, biosphere and human life. In that creativity we can find one sense of God that we can share. This is, I believe, the core of why we have wanted a supernatural God. Such a God may exist, but we do not need that supernatural God. The creativity in nature is God enough… From that new sacred, we can hope to invent a global ethic to orient our lives, and our emerging global civilization.” (Pg. 142) He adds, “God as the creativity in the universe can, I believe, offer us a view in which the sacred and the moral remain utterly valid. So I want to say that I am sympathetic with the feelings and beliefs of those who espouse intelligent design. But as science, it fails.” (Pg. 144)

He explains, “I am hardly the first person to assert that consciousness may be related to quantum phenomena… I will … suggest that consciousness is associated with a poised state between quantum ‘coherent’ behavior and what is called ‘decoherence’ of quantum possibilities to ‘classical’ actual events… I warn you that this hypothesis is highly controversial… Yet as we will see, there appear to be grounds to investigate it seriously.” (Pg. 197) He continues, “Yet if it should turn out that quantum mechanics is deeply involved in conscious experience, it might help resolve … longstanding philosophical problems. First is the problem of free will… Even if these issues are resolved, we still face the central difficult problem: awareness itself…” (Pg. 198-199)

He states, “The cornerstone of my theory is that the conscious mind is a persistently poised quantum-coherent-decoherent system, forever propagating quantum coherent behavior, yet forever also decohering to classical behavior… mind, consciousness… is identical with quantum coherent immaterial possibilities, or with partially coherent quantum behavior, yet via decoherence, the quantum decoherent mind has consequences that approach classical behavior so very closely that the mind can have consequences that create actual physical events by the emergence of classicity. Thus… Immaterial mind has consequences for matter.” (Pg. 209) But later, he admits, “this is still no answer, as least as yet, to the hard problem [of consciousness]. Perhaps one day, I will become part of an answer.” (Pg. 227)

He concludes, “In the face of this unknowing, many find security in faith in God. We can also choose to face this unknown using our own full human responsibility, without appealing to a Creator God, even though we cannot know everything we need to know. On contemplation, there is something sublime in this action in the face of uncertainty. Our faith and courage are, in fact, sacred---they are our persistent choice for life itself.” (Pg. 245) He adds, “Seeking a new vision of the real world and our place in it has been a central aim of this book---to find common ground between science and religion so that we might collectively reinvent the sacred.” (Pg. 281) He adds, “The view I discuss… sees nature itself as the generator of the vast creativity around us. Is not this new view… based on an expanded science, God enough? Is not nature itself creativity enough? What more do we really need of a God, if we also accept that we, at last, are responsible to the best of our forever-limited wisdom?” (Pg. 283) He summarizes, “This sense of God enlarges Western humanism for those who do not believe in a Creator God. It invites those who hold to a supernatural Creator God to sustain that faith, but to allow the creativity in the universe to be a further source of meaning and membership. I hope this sense of God and the sacred can be a safe, spiritual space we can all share.” (Pg. 285)

This book illustrates a fascinating new and creative direction in Kauffman’s thought. (Although I certainly wouldn’t “hold my breath” waiting for religious believers to embrace his concept of God…) It will interest those studying the contemporary philosophy, progressive forms of religion/spirituality, and perhaps even fans of Kauffman's earlier books.


By John Allen Paulos Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up (1st Printing) [Hardcover]
By John Allen Paulos Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up (1st Printing) [Hardcover]
10 used & new from $9.02

4.0 out of 5 stars THE MATHEMATICAL AUTHOR LOOKS CRITICALLY (IF BRIEFLY) AT THE ARGUMENTS FOR GOD, June 24, 2015
Mathematician and author John Allen Paulos wrote in the Preface to this 2008 book, “if there is an inborn disposition to materialism… then I suspect I have it… My youthful materialism quickly evolved into adolescent skepticism… The absence of an answer to the question ‘What caused, preceded, or created God?’ made, in my eyes, the existence of the latter being an unnecessary, antecedent mystery. Why introduce Him? Why postulate a completely nonexplanatory, extra perplexity to help explain the already sufficiently perplexing and beautiful world? Or… why not introduce even more antecedent ones such as the Creator’s Creator, or even His Great-Uncle? This vaguely quantitative and logical mind-set… has animated me to write … on what I call irreligion---topics, arguments, and questions that spring from an incredulity not only about religion but also about others’ credulity… I’ve always fond the various arguments for the existence of God that I’ve come across wanting. There is an inherent illogic to all of the arguments that I’ve never dealt with head-on. Here in Irreligion I’ve attempted to do so.” (Pg. x-xi)

He further explains, “Although raised in a nominally Christian home (my grandparents emigrated from Greece) and ensconced now in a secular Jewish family, I never found either religion’s doctrines intellectually or emotionally palatable, much less compelling… although a nonbeliever, I’ve always wondered about the possibility of a basic proto-religion acceptable to atheists and agnostics. By this I mean a ‘religion’ that has no dogma, no narratives, and no existence claims and yet still acknowledges the essential awe and wonder of the world and perhaps affords as well an iota of serenity… This minimalist … religion is consistent with more complex religions… and with an irreligious ethics and a liberating, self-mediated stance toward life and its stories. Furthermore, it conforms nicely with a scientific perspective…” (Pg. xvi-xvii)

He rejects teleological arguments: “Creationists explain what they regard as the absurdly unlikely complexity of life-forms by postulating a creator. That this creator would have to be of vastly greater complexity and vastly more unlikely than the life-forms it created does not seem to both them. Nevertheless, it’s only natural to ask the same question of the creator as one does of the alleged creations… If a certain entity is very complex and it’s deemed extraordinarily unlikely that such complexity would have arisen by itself, then what is explained by attributing the entity’s unlikely complexity to an even more complex and even more unlikely source? This creationist Ponzi scheme quickly leads to metaphysical bankruptcy.” (Pg. 12-13)

He also rejects creationist probability arguments: “Note that there is always a fantastically huge number of evolutionary paths that might have been taken by an organism… but there is only one that will actually be taken. So if, after the fact, we observe the particular evolutionary path actually taken and then calculate the a priori probability of its having been taken, we will get the miniscule probability the creationists mistakenly attach to the process as a whole… I offer another example… if we shuffle this deck of cards… and then examine the particular ordering of the cards … we would be justified in concluding that the probability of this particular ordering … [is] miniscule… The actual result of the shufflings will always have a miniscule probability of occurring, but, unless you’re a creationist, that doesn’t mean the process of obtaining the result is at all dubious.” (Pg. 16-18)

He says about the anthropic argument and “fine-tuning”: “nothing is explained by intoning that in order for us to exist to observe the universe, its laws and constants must allow for observers such as us to exist. Another response… is that other, perhaps non-carbon-based forms of life are possible and would develop were the constants or physical laws different or were the intervals of life-allowing values for the physical constants larger… different life-forms might have developed, possibly even to the point where they would be discussing the fine-tuning that allows them to exist… [or] there may be many universes, each with different laws and constants.” (Pg. 28-29)

He acknowledges, “So do the arguments and counterarguments in this book conclusively prove there isn’t a God? No, of course not, but neither is there an argument that conclusively proves there isn’t a dog who speaks perfect English out of its rear end. Nor is there conclusive proof that there isn’t a Santa, a Satan, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster… these existence claims… are all, by nature of their logical form, incapable of being conclusively disproved.” (Pg. 42)

He makes some very valuable criticisms of the so-called “Bible Codes”: “if we go public only with the interesting sequences we do find, and if we compute probabilities in a simplistic way, then it is clear that these sequences do not mean what they may seem to mean on the surface… The real question isn’t about the likelihood pf PARTICULAR [equidistant letter sequences/ELS] appearing at particular positions in the text, but rather about the likelihood of some ELS’s of vaguely similar significance appearing SOMEWHERE or SOMEHOW in the text.” (Pg. 68-69)

He points out, “I think it’s clear that the ‘subjectivity arguments’ … are convincing only to people who share these visceral feelings. Since my gastric juices don’t incline me to the argument’s conclusion… what else can proponents of these arguments offer? One response, which can’t be summarily dismissed, is simply the example of their belief and its effect on their lives. This effect can be impressive, but certainly doesn’t compel assent. Still, one shouldn’t reject the insights and feelings of those with perfect pitch simply because one is tone-deaf. Or… it wouldn’t be wise for the blind to reject the counsel of sighted people. The undermining disanalogy … is that a sighted person’s observations can be corroborated by the blind… [But] How can an agnostic or atheist learn anything from someone who simply claims to know there is a God?” (Pg. 77)

But he suggests of the irreligious, “most would, I suspect, have no real quarrel with people who simply choose to believe in some sort of nebulous higher power (the more nebulous the better). They would likely, however, be distinctly unimpressed by these people, sometimes quite eminent, who continue to try to forge an argument bridging theism and a particular faith.” (Pg. 80) Later, he admits, “In any case, [Stuart Kauffman’s] order for free and complexity greater than we possess are to be expected and are no basis for believing in God as traditionally defined. If we redefine God to be an inevitable island order or, as Kauffman believes, some sort of emergent entity, then the above considerations show that He exists in this very strained Pickwickian sense.” (Pg. 105)

He says against purported miracles, “Why… do so many in the media and elsewhere refer to the rescuing of a few children after an earthquake or a tsunami as a miracle when they attribute the death of perhaps hundreds of equally innocent children in the same disaster to a geophysical fault line?... IF a recovery from a disease is considered a miraculous case of divine intervention, to what do we attribute the contracting of the disease in the first place… why is it not termed a miracle when a parapet suddenly cracks at 3:06 a.m. and falls on the head of the only person walking on the street below or when a television evangelist lays his hands on a wheelchair-bound man who then does into convulsions?” (Pg. 85-86)

He argues, “According to Christians… God sacrificed His Son, Jesus, in order that we might live forever. But does an omnipotent being really need to sacrifice?... And if God did this for us, why was He not more transparent in His actions and offerings rather than demanding that we blindly subscribe to statements written in an opaque, contradictory book? If He loved us so much, why would unending torment be the consequence of choosing skepticism over faith?... It seems to me that any child unencumbered by imposed dogma would ask such obvious questions and note such obvious inconsistencies.” (Pg. 125-126)

He concludes, “I think the world would benefit if more people of diverse backgrounds were to admit to being irreligious. Perhaps a more realistic hope is for more to acknowledge at least their own private doubts about God… candidly recognizing the absence of any good logical arguments for God’s existence, giving up on divine allies and advocates as well as taskmasters and tormentors, and prizing a humane, reasonable, and brave outlook just might help move this world a bit closer to a heaven on earth.” (Pg. 148-149)

I was, frankly, somewhat disappointed by this book. When compared to other books by contemporary atheists [e.g., Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible, God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion, The God Delusion, etc.], Paulos just breezes past some fairly complex areas. And, in his own area of specialty (mathematics), his arguments about probability, etc., are rarely any more detailed than the arguments of non-mathematicians. [With the exception of his comments on the Bible Codes.] This book will interest anyone studying the “new atheism,” but it will certainly not suffice as one’s sole text on the topic.


Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up
Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up
by John Allen Paulos
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.60
81 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars THE MATHEMATICAL AUTHOR LOOKS CRITICALLY (IF BRIEFLY) AT THE ARGUMENTS FOR GOD, June 24, 2015
Mathematician and author John Allen Paulos wrote in the Preface to this 2008 book, "if there is an inborn disposition to materialism... then I suspect I have it... My youthful materialism quickly evolved into adolescent skepticism... The absence of an answer to the question `What caused, preceded, or created God?' made, in my eyes, the existence of the latter being an unnecessary, antecedent mystery. Why introduce Him? Why postulate a completely nonexplanatory, extra perplexity to help explain the already sufficiently perplexing and beautiful world? Or... why not introduce even more antecedent ones such as the Creator's Creator, or even His Great-Uncle? This vaguely quantitative and logical mind-set... has animated me to write ... on what I call irreligion---topics, arguments, and questions that spring from an incredulity not only about religion but also about others' credulity... I've always fond the various arguments for the existence of God that I've come across wanting. There is an inherent illogic to all of the arguments that I've never dealt with head-on. Here in Irreligion I've attempted to do so." (Pg. x-xi)

He further explains, "Although raised in a nominally Christian home (my grandparents emigrated from Greece) and ensconced now in a secular Jewish family, I never found either religion's doctrines intellectually or emotionally palatable, much less compelling... although a nonbeliever, I've always wondered about the possibility of a basic proto-religion acceptable to atheists and agnostics. By this I mean a `religion' that has no dogma, no narratives, and no existence claims and yet still acknowledges the essential awe and wonder of the world and perhaps affords as well an iota of serenity... This minimalist ... religion is consistent with more complex religions... and with an irreligious ethics and a liberating, self-mediated stance toward life and its stories. Furthermore, it conforms nicely with a scientific perspective..." (Pg. xvi-xvii)

He rejects teleological arguments: "Creationists explain what they regard as the absurdly unlikely complexity of life-forms by postulating a creator. That this creator would have to be of vastly greater complexity and vastly more unlikely than the life-forms it created does not seem to both them. Nevertheless, it's only natural to ask the same question of the creator as one does of the alleged creations... If a certain entity is very complex and it's deemed extraordinarily unlikely that such complexity would have arisen by itself, then what is explained by attributing the entity's unlikely complexity to an even more complex and even more unlikely source? This creationist Ponzi scheme quickly leads to metaphysical bankruptcy." (Pg. 12-13)

He also rejects creationist probability arguments: "Note that there is always a fantastically huge number of evolutionary paths that might have been taken by an organism... but there is only one that will actually be taken. So if, after the fact, we observe the particular evolutionary path actually taken and then calculate the a priori probability of its having been taken, we will get the miniscule probability the creationists mistakenly attach to the process as a whole... I offer another example... if we shuffle this deck of cards... and then examine the particular ordering of the cards ... we would be justified in concluding that the probability of this particular ordering ... [is] miniscule... The actual result of the shufflings will always have a miniscule probability of occurring, but, unless you're a creationist, that doesn't mean the process of obtaining the result is at all dubious." (Pg. 16-18)

He says about the anthropic argument and "fine-tuning": "nothing is explained by intoning that in order for us to exist to observe the universe, its laws and constants must allow for observers such as us to exist. Another response... is that other, perhaps non-carbon-based forms of life are possible and would develop were the constants or physical laws different or were the intervals of life-allowing values for the physical constants larger... different life-forms might have developed, possibly even to the point where they would be discussing the fine-tuning that allows them to exist... [or] there may be many universes, each with different laws and constants." (Pg. 28-29)

He acknowledges, "So do the arguments and counterarguments in this book conclusively prove there isn't a God? No, of course not, but neither is there an argument that conclusively proves there isn't a dog who speaks perfect English out of its rear end. Nor is there conclusive proof that there isn't a Santa, a Satan, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster... these existence claims... are all, by nature of their logical form, incapable of being conclusively disproved." (Pg. 42)

He makes some very valuable criticisms of the so-called "Bible Codes": "if we go public only with the interesting sequences we do find, and if we compute probabilities in a simplistic way, then it is clear that these sequences do not mean what they may seem to mean on the surface... The real question isn't about the likelihood pf PARTICULAR [equidistant letter sequences/ELS] appearing at particular positions in the text, but rather about the likelihood of some ELS's of vaguely similar significance appearing SOMEWHERE or SOMEHOW in the text." (Pg. 68-69)

He points out, "I think it's clear that the `subjectivity arguments' ... are convincing only to people who share these visceral feelings. Since my gastric juices don't incline me to the argument's conclusion... what else can proponents of these arguments offer? One response, which can't be summarily dismissed, is simply the example of their belief and its effect on their lives. This effect can be impressive, but certainly doesn't compel assent. Still, one shouldn't reject the insights and feelings of those with perfect pitch simply because one is tone-deaf. Or... it wouldn't be wise for the blind to reject the counsel of sighted people. The undermining disanalogy ... is that a sighted person's observations can be corroborated by the blind... [But] How can an agnostic or atheist learn anything from someone who simply claims to know there is a God?" (Pg. 77)

But he suggests of the irreligious, "most would, I suspect, have no real quarrel with people who simply choose to believe in some sort of nebulous higher power (the more nebulous the better). They would likely, however, be distinctly unimpressed by these people, sometimes quite eminent, who continue to try to forge an argument bridging theism and a particular faith." (Pg. 80) Later, he admits, "In any case, [Stuart Kauffman's] order for free and complexity greater than we possess are to be expected and are no basis for believing in God as traditionally defined. If we redefine God to be an inevitable island order or, as Kauffman believes, some sort of emergent entity, then the above considerations show that He exists in this very strained Pickwickian sense." (Pg. 105)

He says against purported miracles, "Why... do so many in the media and elsewhere refer to the rescuing of a few children after an earthquake or a tsunami as a miracle when they attribute the death of perhaps hundreds of equally innocent children in the same disaster to a geophysical fault line?... IF a recovery from a disease is considered a miraculous case of divine intervention, to what do we attribute the contracting of the disease in the first place... why is it not termed a miracle when a parapet suddenly cracks at 3:06 a.m. and falls on the head of the only person walking on the street below or when a television evangelist lays his hands on a wheelchair-bound man who then does into convulsions?" (Pg. 85-86)

He argues, "According to Christians... God sacrificed His Son, Jesus, in order that we might live forever. But does an omnipotent being really need to sacrifice?... And if God did this for us, why was He not more transparent in His actions and offerings rather than demanding that we blindly subscribe to statements written in an opaque, contradictory book? If He loved us so much, why would unending torment be the consequence of choosing skepticism over faith?... It seems to me that any child unencumbered by imposed dogma would ask such obvious questions and note such obvious inconsistencies." (Pg. 125-126)

He concludes, "I think the world would benefit if more people of diverse backgrounds were to admit to being irreligious. Perhaps a more realistic hope is for more to acknowledge at least their own private doubts about God... candidly recognizing the absence of any good logical arguments for God's existence, giving up on divine allies and advocates as well as taskmasters and tormentors, and prizing a humane, reasonable, and brave outlook just might help move this world a bit closer to a heaven on earth." (Pg. 148-149)

I was, frankly, somewhat disappointed by this book. When compared to other books by contemporary atheists [e.g., Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible, God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion, The God Delusion, etc.], Paulos just breezes past some fairly complex areas. And, in his own area of specialty (mathematics), his arguments about probability, etc., are rarely any more detailed than the arguments of non-mathematicians. [With the exception of his comments on the Bible Codes.] This book will interest anyone studying the "new atheism," but it will certainly not suffice as one's sole text on the topic.


Back to Darwin
Back to Darwin
by Michael Anthony Corey
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars IS THE PROPOSED DICHOTOMY BETWEEN EVOLUTION AND DIVINE CREATION “GROSSLY IN ERROR”?, June 23, 2015
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This review is from: Back to Darwin (Paperback)
Author Michael Anthony Corey wrote in the Preface to this 1994 book, “it is the uncanny relationship between our own existence and entire constellations of these fundamental parameters that is the most astonishing feature of modern science… Indeed, the evidence for Deliberate Design from these cosmic ‘coincidences’ is so compelling that they amount to a strong probabilistic ‘proof’ of a Grand Designer. It is my intention in this book to add to this probabilistic proof by showing that the process of biological evolution is not only fully consistent with the existence of a Grand Designer, it is also positively unintelligible in the absence of one. While other hypotheses … may be possible, it is my contention that they are not nearly as persuasive as the theistic hypothesis, especially given the biocentric nature of the universe as a whole.” (Pg. 2)

He continues, “the … dichotomy between gradual evolution and Divine Creation is grossly in error… the truth concerning the origin of life lies in the MIDDLE of the ideological background… the universe may have arisen gradually through natural evolutionary processes, but not blindly or randomly. Rather, the Supreme Being Himself could have found it necessary to utilize these natural evolutionary processes as His Divine Creation Tools… In this way of thinking, creation and evolution aren’t mutually exclusive alternatives at all. They simply refer to different issues in the overall question of the origin of life.” (Pg. 3) He adds, “In this book we will be fleshing out this theistically-based position with the most recent discoveries in evolutionary biology and molecular genetics. Our goal will be to address the major points of disagreement between science and religion, so as to be able to obtain a unified view of the rise of life.” (Pg. 4)

Of Darwin’s statement in the ‘Origin of Species’ [‘…originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one’], he comments, “Darwin explicitly ASSUMES the existence of a Deistic Creator… This is certainly not a statement that would be made by an atheist or even an agnostic. Darwin further assumes that this sort of deistic Creator was no less worthy of our deepest worship and admiration, just because He tended to create indirectly through secondary causes.” (Pg. 7-8) He adds, “although Darwin clearly had reservations about the role God may have played in the evolutionary process, he almost certainly believed in SOME sort of Creator, since he had no other explanation for the obvious self-organizing power of nature’s most fundamental constituents. Darwin simply had a hard time understanding, as we all do, why God would have created the world the way He did.” (Pg. 12)

But he clarifies, “my position in this book is by no means identical with Darwin’s own version of deism. There is… a significant difference … having to do with the important issue of God’s foreknowledge and control over the evolutionary process. Darwin believed that God had instituted the evolutionary system of natural law without directly knowing how it would all turn out in the end. He therefore believed that God did not directly intend the specific results of evolution in matters of detail. This is how Darwin chose to distance God from all the pain and suffering that has ostensibly been produced by the evolutionary process throughout the millennia.” (Pg. 15-16)

He outlines, “we will offer an alternative deistic interpretation of the evolutionary process, and … consider a possible rationale for why God would have used the process of biological evolution to do His creating, when presumably a much less painful and time-consuming process was available to Him… we must endeavor to look beyond the confines of the empirical sciences only, since the primary issue at stake here is a THEOLOGICAL one.” (Pg. 17)

He suggests, “this isn’t necessarily to say that God DIRECTLY intervened in our fledgling world to bring this initial life form into being… it is also possible that He could have designed the miraculous property of biotic self-assembly into the first subatomic particles when He originally created the universe during the primordial Big Bang explosion. Either way, a Transcendent Creator would have been responsible for creating the miracle of life.” (Pg. 45-46)

He observes, “The biggest difference … between the non-theistic evolutionist and the Deistic Evolutionist … [is that] the non-theistic evolutionist believes that variations do not display any directionality whatsoever, whereas the Deistic Evolutionist argues precisely the opposite… The Deistic Evolutionist believes that natural selection requires something coherent and functional to select FROM.” (Pg. 72-73) Later he adds, “Psycho-spiritual man obviously was not created in his final form, so why should we expect the various members of the animal kingdom to have been created in THEIR final form?” (Pg. 98)

He points out, “no one has been able to offer an adequate explanation for the evolution of human intelligence. In fact, most evolutionists consider intelligence to be such a rare commodity that they have quietly come to a remarkable consensus amongst themselves: namely, that evolution of intelligent life is so intrinsically improbable that it is unlikely to be found anywhere else in the entire galaxy. The catch here, though, is that if the evolution of intelligence is so inherently unlikely … then by all accounts it shouldn’t have evolved here either. The fact that it did… is exceedingly powerful evidence that something else must have been going on ‘behind the scenes’ during the evolution of human intelligence.” (Pg. 141-142)

He argues, “As far as the reality of imperfection in the natural world is concerned… this profound degree of imperfection seems to be inconsistent with the notion of an all-knowing and all-powerful Designer… The problem with this conclusion is that it is based on a very weak premise.. that such a Creator would WANT to create a ‘perfect’ world from the start… All we can safely assert a priori is that such a Being would want to implement His overall Purpose perfectly in the creation. This, of course, is a long way from saying that he would want to create a world that would be perceived as being ‘perfect’ by some of its inhabitants.” (Pg. 193)

He reveals, “I don’t believe that God is responsible for convergent evolution merely because I am religious; I believe that God is responsible for it simply because there doesn’t seem to be any other rational alternative. Being religious, then, doesn’t always have to be a matter of faith alone. If one is truly open to the various realities of being alive in the world, being religious can also be a matter of good old-fashioned common sense as well.” (Pg. 229)

Later, he adds, “We can therefore use a new term, ‘Supernatural Naturalism,’ to describe the Deistic Evolutionist’s conceptualization of God’s creative power in the world. On this view, the Divine power is supernatural… At the same time, though, the Divine power is also natural… and operates solely according to natural cause-and-effect processes.” (Pg. 318) He proposes, “God’s voluntary decision to create the universe in this gradual manner is only a problem as far as the HUMAN perspective on creation is concerned. For God… this ‘long’ stretch of time is immaterial…” (Pg. 320)

He notes, “David Ray Griffin… has raised the question of whether or not the alleged suffering of millions of other species throughout evolution … can be considered to be morally justifiable… Although the lower animals clearly experience physical pain, this is a long way from saying that they actually SUFFER the way humans do. For one thing, the lower animals don’t seem to be capable of conceptualizing pain the way humans can… The immediate prospect of death, for instance, isn’t nearly as aversive to the lower animals as it is to human beings.” (Pg. 372-373) Later, he adds, “[God] is the only entity who is in a position to decide whether or not all evil in our world will ultimately turn out to be justifiable, all things considered. The very fact that we presently exist, in spite of evil, would seem to indicate that this evil will indeed turn out to be justified in the end.” (Pg. 382)

He also adds, “the Deistic Evolutionist’s emphasis on natural causation… doesn’t necessarily conflict with the traditional Christian belief of Divine Intervention as the ultimate cause of all that exists.” (Pg. 399) The Deistic Evolutionist “merely requires that this intervention be absolutely necessary for effecting the greatest good for the greatest number of people (which leaves open the possibility for a specific Divine Incarnation)…” (Pg. 400)

This is a creative, and highly interesting interpretation of evolution, which deserves to be much more widely-known.


Earth's Earliest Ages - And Their Connection with Modern Spiritualism, Theosophy and Buddhism
Earth's Earliest Ages - And Their Connection with Modern Spiritualism, Theosophy and Buddhism
by G. H. Pember
Edition: Hardcover
40 used & new from $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS EXPOSITION OF THE “GAP THEORY” OF CREATION, June 23, 2015
George Hawkins Pember (1837–1910) was an English theologian and author who was affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren; he wrote other books such as The Great Prophecies Concerning the Gentiles, the Jews, and the Church of God, Notes On Leviticus, The Church The Churches and The Mysteries, Animals: Their Past and Future, etc.

[NOTE: page numbers below refer to a 332-page third paperback edition.]

The “Gap Theory” proposed in this book had previously been proposed by the Scottish theologian Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847). He wrote in the Preface to the first edition, “In 1876 the author… first attempted to remove some of the Geological and other difficulties usually associated with the commencing chapters of Genesis; and then endeavored to show that the characteristic features of the Days of Noah were reappearing in Christendom, and, therefore, that the Days of the Son of Man could not be far distant.”

He observes, “we are told that in the beginning God CREATED the heaven and the earth; but the Scriptures never affirm that He did this in the six days. The work of those days was, as we shall presently see, quite a different thing from original creation: they were times of restoration, and the word ‘asah’ is generally used in connection with them.” (Pg. 29)

He outlines his view: “God created Satan… He was placed in an Eden… which was both far anterior to the Eden of Genesis---for he was perfect in all his ways when he entered it… He… appears to have been the great High Priest of his realm… he was perfect in all his ways, and apparently continued so for a length of time. Now all this evidently took place before his fall and the preparation of the present world… Satan abused his high office… and thus involved the whole of his province in sin, and the earthly part of it… in a ruin to which allusion is made in the second verse of Genesis… when no other created being could be found able to restore the confusion, the Lord Jesus Himself came forth from the Godhead, to take the misused power into His own hands… He will come to earth a second time, to wrest the power from the hands of Satan, and, after destroying that which cannot be healed, bring back the residue of creation to purity and order… in remote ages, before the first whisper of rebellion against God, Satan… ruled over the sinless dwellers upon earth… How long God bore with this… all such questions as these we can only answer by conjecture from the analogy of our own race…” (Pg. 53-55)

He acknowledges an objection: “Why, if a preadamite race really existed upon earth in the flesh, do we not find some indications of it among the fossil remains? Certainly no human bones have been as yet detected in primeval rocks; though if any should be hereafter discovered, we need find no contradiction in Scripture in the fact. But the absence in the fossiliferous strata of any vestige of preadamite man is not real obstacle to the view we have taken. For we are totally unacquainted with the conditions of life in that pristine world, which … probably were not, the same as in our own. For Adam was created after, and apparently… in full view of a previous failure. Hence it may be that death did not touch those primeval men until the final destruction… It may be that their bodies were resolved into primal elements…” (Pg. 59)

He summarizes, “We must now return to the condition of the ruined earth, the condition of which we can only conjecture from what we are told of the six days of restoration. Violent convulsions must have taken place upon it, for it was inundated with the ocean waters: its sun had been extinguished: the stars were no longer seen above it: its clouds and atmosphere, having no attractive force to keep them in suspension, had descended in moisture upon its surface: there was not a living being to be found in the whole planet (Gen 2:5).” (Pg. 63)

Of the “days” in Genesis, he comments: “And doubtless the word ‘day’ is sometimes used of prolonged periods, as in the expression ‘the day of temptation in the wilderness,’ and many others. But whenever a numeral is connected with it, the meaning is at once restricted thereby, and it can only be used in its literal acceptation of the time which the earth takes to make one revolution upon its axis. It is, therefore, clear that we must understand the Six Days to be six periods of twenty-four hours each.” (Pg. 65)

He suggests, “Adam and Eve… were, perhaps, stimulated… by a desire to prolong their own reign. For, knowing themselves to be rebels, they were probably well aware that the Almighty never intended sinless man to be subject to them… Hence we can easily understand their anxiety to retard, at least, the counsel of God by reducing the new creation to their own level of sin and ruin. And, perchance, they may have known from experience that the result would be a delay of long ages, during which the mercy of the Supreme would grant His creatures time for repentance and recovery.” (Pg. 86) He adds, “Thus the Gospel was preached from the beginning… And, by comparing the promise of the woman’s Seed and the bruising of His heel with the slain sacrifice and the coats made from the skins of the victims, Adam may have been at once able to discern the outline of the great plan of salvation.” (Pg. 106)

He says of the Nephilim, “the English version renders ‘Nephilim’ by ‘giants.’ But the form of the Hebrew word indicates a verbal adjective or noun, of passive or neuter signification, from ‘Naphal,’ to fall: hence it must mean ‘the fallen ones,’ that is, probably, the fallen angels. Afterwards, however, the term seems to have been transferred to their offspring, as we may gather from the only other passage in which it occurs [Num 13:32-33].” (Pg. 132)

He asserts, “The seven great causes of the antediluvian apostasy have been already noticed, and may be summed up as follows: I. A tendency to worship God … merely as the Creator and Benefactor, and not at Jehovah the covenant God … dealing with transgressors… II. An undue prominence of the female sex, and a disregard of the primal law of marriage. III. A rapid progress in the mechanical arts… whereby the hardships of the curse were mitigated, and life was rendered more easy and indulgent… IV. An alliance between the nominal Church and the World… V. A vast increase of population. VI. The rejection of the preaching of Enoch … whose warnings thus … hardened men beyond recovery. VII. The appearance upon earth of beings from the Principality of the Air, and their unlawful intercourse with the human race.” (Pg. 140-141) He then compares his own time with this time, and concludes, “if the great apostasy, which will at last evolve the Lawless One, be even now spreading… Are we not living in solemn times: is not the air full of warnings: does it not behove every believer to arise, gird up his loins, and trim his lamp?” (Pg. 281)

Of course, it is Pember’s exposition of the Gap Theory that most interests the modern reader; his critiques of Spiritualism, Theosophy, etc., are rooted in their 19th century manifestations, and are of less interest to 21st century readers.


Earth's Earliest Ages and Their Connection with Modern Spiritualism and Theosophy
Earth's Earliest Ages and Their Connection with Modern Spiritualism and Theosophy
Price: $9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS EXPOSITION OF THE “GAP THEORY” OF CREATION, June 23, 2015
George Hawkins Pember (1837–1910) was an English theologian and author who was affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren; he wrote other books such as The Great Prophecies Concerning the Gentiles, the Jews, and the Church of God, Notes On Leviticus, The Church The Churches and The Mysteries, Animals: Their Past and Future, etc.

[NOTE: page numbers below refer to a 332-page third paperback edition.]

The “Gap Theory” proposed in this book had previously been proposed by the Scottish theologian Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847). He wrote in the Preface to the first edition, “In 1876 the author… first attempted to remove some of the Geological and other difficulties usually associated with the commencing chapters of Genesis; and then endeavored to show that the characteristic features of the Days of Noah were reappearing in Christendom, and, therefore, that the Days of the Son of Man could not be far distant.”

He observes, “we are told that in the beginning God CREATED the heaven and the earth; but the Scriptures never affirm that He did this in the six days. The work of those days was, as we shall presently see, quite a different thing from original creation: they were times of restoration, and the word ‘asah’ is generally used in connection with them.” (Pg. 29)

He outlines his view: “God created Satan… He was placed in an Eden… which was both far anterior to the Eden of Genesis---for he was perfect in all his ways when he entered it… He… appears to have been the great High Priest of his realm… he was perfect in all his ways, and apparently continued so for a length of time. Now all this evidently took place before his fall and the preparation of the present world… Satan abused his high office… and thus involved the whole of his province in sin, and the earthly part of it… in a ruin to which allusion is made in the second verse of Genesis… when no other created being could be found able to restore the confusion, the Lord Jesus Himself came forth from the Godhead, to take the misused power into His own hands… He will come to earth a second time, to wrest the power from the hands of Satan, and, after destroying that which cannot be healed, bring back the residue of creation to purity and order… in remote ages, before the first whisper of rebellion against God, Satan… ruled over the sinless dwellers upon earth… How long God bore with this… all such questions as these we can only answer by conjecture from the analogy of our own race…” (Pg. 53-55)

He acknowledges an objection: “Why, if a preadamite race really existed upon earth in the flesh, do we not find some indications of it among the fossil remains? Certainly no human bones have been as yet detected in primeval rocks; though if any should be hereafter discovered, we need find no contradiction in Scripture in the fact. But the absence in the fossiliferous strata of any vestige of preadamite man is not real obstacle to the view we have taken. For we are totally unacquainted with the conditions of life in that pristine world, which … probably were not, the same as in our own. For Adam was created after, and apparently… in full view of a previous failure. Hence it may be that death did not touch those primeval men until the final destruction… It may be that their bodies were resolved into primal elements…” (Pg. 59)

He summarizes, “We must now return to the condition of the ruined earth, the condition of which we can only conjecture from what we are told of the six days of restoration. Violent convulsions must have taken place upon it, for it was inundated with the ocean waters: its sun had been extinguished: the stars were no longer seen above it: its clouds and atmosphere, having no attractive force to keep them in suspension, had descended in moisture upon its surface: there was not a living being to be found in the whole planet (Gen 2:5).” (Pg. 63)

Of the “days” in Genesis, he comments: “And doubtless the word ‘day’ is sometimes used of prolonged periods, as in the expression ‘the day of temptation in the wilderness,’ and many others. But whenever a numeral is connected with it, the meaning is at once restricted thereby, and it can only be used in its literal acceptation of the time which the earth takes to make one revolution upon its axis. It is, therefore, clear that we must understand the Six Days to be six periods of twenty-four hours each.” (Pg. 65)

He suggests, “Adam and Eve… were, perhaps, stimulated… by a desire to prolong their own reign. For, knowing themselves to be rebels, they were probably well aware that the Almighty never intended sinless man to be subject to them… Hence we can easily understand their anxiety to retard, at least, the counsel of God by reducing the new creation to their own level of sin and ruin. And, perchance, they may have known from experience that the result would be a delay of long ages, during which the mercy of the Supreme would grant His creatures time for repentance and recovery.” (Pg. 86) He adds, “Thus the Gospel was preached from the beginning… And, by comparing the promise of the woman’s Seed and the bruising of His heel with the slain sacrifice and the coats made from the skins of the victims, Adam may have been at once able to discern the outline of the great plan of salvation.” (Pg. 106)

He says of the Nephilim, “the English version renders ‘Nephilim’ by ‘giants.’ But the form of the Hebrew word indicates a verbal adjective or noun, of passive or neuter signification, from ‘Naphal,’ to fall: hence it must mean ‘the fallen ones,’ that is, probably, the fallen angels. Afterwards, however, the term seems to have been transferred to their offspring, as we may gather from the only other passage in which it occurs [Num 13:32-33].” (Pg. 132)

He asserts, “The seven great causes of the antediluvian apostasy have been already noticed, and may be summed up as follows: I. A tendency to worship God … merely as the Creator and Benefactor, and not at Jehovah the covenant God … dealing with transgressors… II. An undue prominence of the female sex, and a disregard of the primal law of marriage. III. A rapid progress in the mechanical arts… whereby the hardships of the curse were mitigated, and life was rendered more easy and indulgent… IV. An alliance between the nominal Church and the World… V. A vast increase of population. VI. The rejection of the preaching of Enoch … whose warnings thus … hardened men beyond recovery. VII. The appearance upon earth of beings from the Principality of the Air, and their unlawful intercourse with the human race.” (Pg. 140-141) He then compares his own time with this time, and concludes, “if the great apostasy, which will at last evolve the Lawless One, be even now spreading… Are we not living in solemn times: is not the air full of warnings: does it not behove every believer to arise, gird up his loins, and trim his lamp?” (Pg. 281)

Of course, it is Pember’s exposition of the Gap Theory that most interests the modern reader; his critiques of Spiritualism, Theosophy, etc., are rooted in their 19th century manifestations, and are of less interest to 21st century readers.


Earth's Earliest Ages: and their Connection with Modern Spiritualism and Theosophy
Earth's Earliest Ages: and their Connection with Modern Spiritualism and Theosophy
by G H Pember
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.67
13 used & new from $9.09

5.0 out of 5 stars PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS EXPOSITION OF THE “GAP THEORY” OF CREATION, June 23, 2015
George Hawkins Pember (1837–1910) was an English theologian and author who was affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren; he wrote other books such as The Great Prophecies Concerning the Gentiles, the Jews, and the Church of God, Notes On Leviticus, The Church The Churches and The Mysteries, Animals: Their Past and Future, etc.

[NOTE: page numbers below refer to a 332-page third paperback edition.]

The “Gap Theory” proposed in this book had previously been proposed by the Scottish theologian Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847). He wrote in the Preface to the first edition, “In 1876 the author… first attempted to remove some of the Geological and other difficulties usually associated with the commencing chapters of Genesis; and then endeavored to show that the characteristic features of the Days of Noah were reappearing in Christendom, and, therefore, that the Days of the Son of Man could not be far distant.”

He observes, “we are told that in the beginning God CREATED the heaven and the earth; but the Scriptures never affirm that He did this in the six days. The work of those days was, as we shall presently see, quite a different thing from original creation: they were times of restoration, and the word ‘asah’ is generally used in connection with them.” (Pg. 29)

He outlines his view: “God created Satan… He was placed in an Eden… which was both far anterior to the Eden of Genesis---for he was perfect in all his ways when he entered it… He… appears to have been the great High Priest of his realm… he was perfect in all his ways, and apparently continued so for a length of time. Now all this evidently took place before his fall and the preparation of the present world… Satan abused his high office… and thus involved the whole of his province in sin, and the earthly part of it… in a ruin to which allusion is made in the second verse of Genesis… when no other created being could be found able to restore the confusion, the Lord Jesus Himself came forth from the Godhead, to take the misused power into His own hands… He will come to earth a second time, to wrest the power from the hands of Satan, and, after destroying that which cannot be healed, bring back the residue of creation to purity and order… in remote ages, before the first whisper of rebellion against God, Satan… ruled over the sinless dwellers upon earth… How long God bore with this… all such questions as these we can only answer by conjecture from the analogy of our own race…” (Pg. 53-55)

He acknowledges an objection: “Why, if a preadamite race really existed upon earth in the flesh, do we not find some indications of it among the fossil remains? Certainly no human bones have been as yet detected in primeval rocks; though if any should be hereafter discovered, we need find no contradiction in Scripture in the fact. But the absence in the fossiliferous strata of any vestige of preadamite man is not real obstacle to the view we have taken. For we are totally unacquainted with the conditions of life in that pristine world, which … probably were not, the same as in our own. For Adam was created after, and apparently… in full view of a previous failure. Hence it may be that death did not touch those primeval men until the final destruction… It may be that their bodies were resolved into primal elements…” (Pg. 59)

He summarizes, “We must now return to the condition of the ruined earth, the condition of which we can only conjecture from what we are told of the six days of restoration. Violent convulsions must have taken place upon it, for it was inundated with the ocean waters: its sun had been extinguished: the stars were no longer seen above it: its clouds and atmosphere, having no attractive force to keep them in suspension, had descended in moisture upon its surface: there was not a living being to be found in the whole planet (Gen 2:5).” (Pg. 63)

Of the “days” in Genesis, he comments: “And doubtless the word ‘day’ is sometimes used of prolonged periods, as in the expression ‘the day of temptation in the wilderness,’ and many others. But whenever a numeral is connected with it, the meaning is at once restricted thereby, and it can only be used in its literal acceptation of the time which the earth takes to make one revolution upon its axis. It is, therefore, clear that we must understand the Six Days to be six periods of twenty-four hours each.” (Pg. 65)

He suggests, “Adam and Eve… were, perhaps, stimulated… by a desire to prolong their own reign. For, knowing themselves to be rebels, they were probably well aware that the Almighty never intended sinless man to be subject to them… Hence we can easily understand their anxiety to retard, at least, the counsel of God by reducing the new creation to their own level of sin and ruin. And, perchance, they may have known from experience that the result would be a delay of long ages, during which the mercy of the Supreme would grant His creatures time for repentance and recovery.” (Pg. 86) He adds, “Thus the Gospel was preached from the beginning… And, by comparing the promise of the woman’s Seed and the bruising of His heel with the slain sacrifice and the coats made from the skins of the victims, Adam may have been at once able to discern the outline of the great plan of salvation.” (Pg. 106)

He says of the Nephilim, “the English version renders ‘Nephilim’ by ‘giants.’ But the form of the Hebrew word indicates a verbal adjective or noun, of passive or neuter signification, from ‘Naphal,’ to fall: hence it must mean ‘the fallen ones,’ that is, probably, the fallen angels. Afterwards, however, the term seems to have been transferred to their offspring, as we may gather from the only other passage in which it occurs [Num 13:32-33].” (Pg. 132)

He asserts, “The seven great causes of the antediluvian apostasy have been already noticed, and may be summed up as follows: I. A tendency to worship God … merely as the Creator and Benefactor, and not at Jehovah the covenant God … dealing with transgressors… II. An undue prominence of the female sex, and a disregard of the primal law of marriage. III. A rapid progress in the mechanical arts… whereby the hardships of the curse were mitigated, and life was rendered more easy and indulgent… IV. An alliance between the nominal Church and the World… V. A vast increase of population. VI. The rejection of the preaching of Enoch … whose warnings thus … hardened men beyond recovery. VII. The appearance upon earth of beings from the Principality of the Air, and their unlawful intercourse with the human race.” (Pg. 140-141) He then compares his own time with this time, and concludes, “if the great apostasy, which will at last evolve the Lawless One, be even now spreading… Are we not living in solemn times: is not the air full of warnings: does it not behove every believer to arise, gird up his loins, and trim his lamp?” (Pg. 281)

Of course, it is Pember’s exposition of the Gap Theory that most interests the modern reader; his critiques of Spiritualism, Theosophy, etc., are rooted in their 19th century manifestations, and are of less interest to 21st century readers.


Earth's Earliest Ages
Earth's Earliest Ages
by G. H. Pember
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.66
57 used & new from $10.15

5.0 out of 5 stars PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS EXPOSITION OF THE “GAP THEORY” OF CREATION, June 23, 2015
This review is from: Earth's Earliest Ages (Paperback)
George Hawkins Pember (1837–1910) was an English theologian and author who was affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren; he wrote other books such as The Great Prophecies Concerning the Gentiles, the Jews, and the Church of God, Notes On Leviticus, The Church The Churches and The Mysteries, Animals: Their Past and Future, etc.

[NOTE: page numbers below refer to a 332-page third paperback edition.]

The “Gap Theory” proposed in this book had previously been proposed by the Scottish theologian Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847). He wrote in the Preface to the first edition, “In 1876 the author… first attempted to remove some of the Geological and other difficulties usually associated with the commencing chapters of Genesis; and then endeavored to show that the characteristic features of the Days of Noah were reappearing in Christendom, and, therefore, that the Days of the Son of Man could not be far distant.”

He observes, “we are told that in the beginning God CREATED the heaven and the earth; but the Scriptures never affirm that He did this in the six days. The work of those days was, as we shall presently see, quite a different thing from original creation: they were times of restoration, and the word ‘asah’ is generally used in connection with them.” (Pg. 29)

He outlines his view: “God created Satan… He was placed in an Eden… which was both far anterior to the Eden of Genesis---for he was perfect in all his ways when he entered it… He… appears to have been the great High Priest of his realm… he was perfect in all his ways, and apparently continued so for a length of time. Now all this evidently took place before his fall and the preparation of the present world… Satan abused his high office… and thus involved the whole of his province in sin, and the earthly part of it… in a ruin to which allusion is made in the second verse of Genesis… when no other created being could be found able to restore the confusion, the Lord Jesus Himself came forth from the Godhead, to take the misused power into His own hands… He will come to earth a second time, to wrest the power from the hands of Satan, and, after destroying that which cannot be healed, bring back the residue of creation to purity and order… in remote ages, before the first whisper of rebellion against God, Satan… ruled over the sinless dwellers upon earth… How long God bore with this… all such questions as these we can only answer by conjecture from the analogy of our own race…” (Pg. 53-55)

He acknowledges an objection: “Why, if a preadamite race really existed upon earth in the flesh, do we not find some indications of it among the fossil remains? Certainly no human bones have been as yet detected in primeval rocks; though if any should be hereafter discovered, we need find no contradiction in Scripture in the fact. But the absence in the fossiliferous strata of any vestige of preadamite man is not real obstacle to the view we have taken. For we are totally unacquainted with the conditions of life in that pristine world, which … probably were not, the same as in our own. For Adam was created after, and apparently… in full view of a previous failure. Hence it may be that death did not touch those primeval men until the final destruction… It may be that their bodies were resolved into primal elements…” (Pg. 59)

He summarizes, “We must now return to the condition of the ruined earth, the condition of which we can only conjecture from what we are told of the six days of restoration. Violent convulsions must have taken place upon it, for it was inundated with the ocean waters: its sun had been extinguished: the stars were no longer seen above it: its clouds and atmosphere, having no attractive force to keep them in suspension, had descended in moisture upon its surface: there was not a living being to be found in the whole planet (Gen 2:5).” (Pg. 63)

Of the “days” in Genesis, he comments: “And doubtless the word ‘day’ is sometimes used of prolonged periods, as in the expression ‘the day of temptation in the wilderness,’ and many others. But whenever a numeral is connected with it, the meaning is at once restricted thereby, and it can only be used in its literal acceptation of the time which the earth takes to make one revolution upon its axis. It is, therefore, clear that we must understand the Six Days to be six periods of twenty-four hours each.” (Pg. 65)

He suggests, “Adam and Eve… were, perhaps, stimulated… by a desire to prolong their own reign. For, knowing themselves to be rebels, they were probably well aware that the Almighty never intended sinless man to be subject to them… Hence we can easily understand their anxiety to retard, at least, the counsel of God by reducing the new creation to their own level of sin and ruin. And, perchance, they may have known from experience that the result would be a delay of long ages, during which the mercy of the Supreme would grant His creatures time for repentance and recovery.” (Pg. 86) He adds, “Thus the Gospel was preached from the beginning… And, by comparing the promise of the woman’s Seed and the bruising of His heel with the slain sacrifice and the coats made from the skins of the victims, Adam may have been at once able to discern the outline of the great plan of salvation.” (Pg. 106)

He says of the Nephilim, “the English version renders ‘Nephilim’ by ‘giants.’ But the form of the Hebrew word indicates a verbal adjective or noun, of passive or neuter signification, from ‘Naphal,’ to fall: hence it must mean ‘the fallen ones,’ that is, probably, the fallen angels. Afterwards, however, the term seems to have been transferred to their offspring, as we may gather from the only other passage in which it occurs [Num 13:32-33].” (Pg. 132)

He asserts, “The seven great causes of the antediluvian apostasy have been already noticed, and may be summed up as follows: I. A tendency to worship God … merely as the Creator and Benefactor, and not at Jehovah the covenant God … dealing with transgressors… II. An undue prominence of the female sex, and a disregard of the primal law of marriage. III. A rapid progress in the mechanical arts… whereby the hardships of the curse were mitigated, and life was rendered more easy and indulgent… IV. An alliance between the nominal Church and the World… V. A vast increase of population. VI. The rejection of the preaching of Enoch … whose warnings thus … hardened men beyond recovery. VII. The appearance upon earth of beings from the Principality of the Air, and their unlawful intercourse with the human race.” (Pg. 140-141) He then compares his own time with this time, and concludes, “if the great apostasy, which will at last evolve the Lawless One, be even now spreading… Are we not living in solemn times: is not the air full of warnings: does it not behove every believer to arise, gird up his loins, and trim his lamp?” (Pg. 281)

Of course, it is Pember’s exposition of the Gap Theory that most interests the modern reader; his critiques of Spiritualism, Theosophy, etc., are rooted in their 19th century manifestations, and are of less interest to 21st century readers.


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