Idle Hands

You may have heard the phrase “idle hands make work for the devil,” but what about when God has idle hands, does God get up to no good when he doesn’t have anything useful to do? According to the Bible God created the earth, and the universe. He also created human beings, and if you believe what many preachers will tell you the purpose for our creation was so that we could know God and be reconciled to him after he disowned us for apparent genetic crimes.[1] When did all of this happen? Well, let’s ask science. Astronomers tell us that the universe is 14 billion years old, the earth is 4.5 billion years old and human beings as a species are 200,000 years old. Francis Collins the chairman of the Human Genome Project, and also a Christian, has stated that Homo sapiens are around 150,000 years old. Richard Dawkins has stated that Homo sapiens could be as old as 250,000 years. Most sources cite 200,000 years as an accurate figure as to the age of our species.[2]

What am I getting at? Well, God created the universe for the purpose of housing human beings who would be located on one small planet in the far reaches of a tiny spiral galaxy. He created us in order to have a relationship with us, but shortly after the creation of human beings our ancestors rebelled and sinned against God. Then God got extremely upset with human beings and decided to curse us all with original sin.[3] The Bible then provides a timeline of every person to follow in Adam’s line down to Jesus Christ who was born around 4 BC. But hold on, that timeline only covers a few thousand years. The Bible tells us that God created human beings on the sixth day of creation. Let’s ignore for a moment that this doesn’t actually match up to the science. The Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth (universe and earth) on the first day but we know that these two events are 10 billion years apart. Five days later he apparently created human beings, but the science tells us that human beings did not appear on the earth until about 4.5 billion years after its creation.

Let’s do the Timewarp

All right, we won’t dwell on that. Clearly God’s time management skills are not too hot in this situation. The point that I want to focus on is this one: what was God doing for the 195,000 years between the first appearance of Homo sapiens and his intervention via the stone tablets of Moses? Aeons of time passed while God twiddled his fingers watching the birth and death of countless human beings who he destined for inevitable hellfire. Before God spoke to Noah in excess of 99% of all the species that have ever walked the earth became extinct. During this time human beings lived atrocious lives with terribly short lifespans in extremely hostile environments. Those who survived the diseases, wild animals, exposure to extreme weather and attacks by other tribes of humans, could expect to be killed by the serious design flaws of their own teeth. Unnecessary wisdom teeth which are susceptible to impacting and infection are a further demonstration of God’s goodness and his expertise in design.[4]

The world of this time was God’s death camp. We can only deduce that he must take great pleasure in watching the death of human beings as billions have passed before his eyes. This senseless loss of life is apparently the will of a perfectly good divine being. But God wasn’t ready to intervene yet; he hadn’t watched enough pain and suffering. He was waiting for the big reveal. In order to demonstrate his amazing plans to humanity he would reveal his cosmic strategy of redemption to the nomadic herdsman of a small tribe in the Middle East. But hold on, weren’t there big civilisations around at the time? Why yes there were. And couldn’t God expect to reach a much bigger audience and save a lot more people from the torturous domain of the abyss if he brought his message to one of these big civilisations? Ah, yes. So God let billions of people die off and go to hell while he was having a 200,000 year tea break, and when he finally did reveal himself he did so to a small nomadic tribe with no real influence? Apparently so! According to the Christian worldview all of this occurred so that the people of the last 2000 years could become acquainted with Christ and be saved from the inevitable hellfires which are our natural destiny. If I was a cynic I might suggest that it’s almost as if the redemption of humanity only started to happen after Yahweh was invented in the Bronze Age.

Sneaky God

What’s better than an old earth that appears old? Well, just to spite all of the plastic surgeons God wants to make young things look old. That’s right; some Christians even claim that the earth is in fact young despite having the appearance of age. In other words, God intentionally made the earth appear older than it actually is. What would God’s motivation for this be? This is in fact an intentionally deceptive idea. God would have to be trying to fool us in order for this ridiculous idea to be true. Many scientific factors prove that the earth is very old. Just one example is the red shift[5] which demonstrates that the earth is at least 14 billion years old. This creates a few issues if you are a biblical literalist and forced to believe that God created the earth in 6 days. Part of creation was man, which would mean that in order to be scientifically correct Homo sapiens would have to be at a minimum 14 billion years old. The idea that God would lie by placing fossils inside rocks and giving the universe the appearance of being older than it actually is stands in direct conflict to biblical claims which say that God’s creation declares his glory and righteousness. Frankly, any Christian who can have a straight face and say that God “aged” the appearance of the earth is operating in a cognitive dissonance. They believe two opposing ideas at the same time: that God is perfectly good but that he can also be deceptive and lie.

The Tyranny of the Now

Modern people, and not just Christians, can be boxed into a chronological mind-set in which we consider only the present. This type of thinking enables a person to ignore the facts of the past and only acknowledge the circumstances of the present. Part of the result of this can be the idea that the people of the past were not important as compared to the people of the present. This rationale might not be overtly present, people can engage in it subconsciously or superficially. But it has enabled a concept which is present in Christianity. The concept in question is the idea that the people of the past served only as stepping stones for the people of the present. The idea is fuelled by the strong tendency in western Christianity towards a “God and me” approach to spirituality. At its extreme this is represented through the idea that while God loves everybody he really loves, or favours, me. Allow me to provide an example. Christians will quite happily accept the notion that those people living under the old covenant, prior to the coming of Jesus, did not have the same degree of access to God or salvation as the people of the church age. They did not have the Holy Spirit, they did not have the full written scriptures, they did not have the promises of eternal life, and they did not have any knowledge of Jesus. But the Christian is happy to concede that this is an acceptable situation. They are looking at it from their perspective,[6] not from the perspective of the person who lived in that time. As I look from my external vantage point I can clearly see that this is not a fair situation. Why would it be okay for one person to have the full expression of Christianity alongside the full knowledge of salvation, when another person from a different era does not have access to any of those things? When we consider that eternal life or eternal damnation is the consequence, it becomes imperative that all human beings have access to the same information. This is enflamed even further when we recognise that humanity is in fact not 6000 years old but rather 200,000 years old. When we acknowledge that human beings have been in existence for roughly 195,000 years prior to any communication from God it becomes easy to recognise that the situation is entirely unfair. It was bad enough for the people who lived in the Old Testament period, but those who lived before that have no hope of salvation. For 98% of the history of human beings no salvation was on offer. Does this sound reasonable for a God who supposedly wishes for all to come to knowledge of Jesus Christ? Some might argue that God provided a “special salvation” to those who lived before this knowledge was available. But that doesn’t work either: if the people who came before the knowledge of Christ was available are all saved by default then we today have a worse deal. We have to sacrifice our entire lives (inferring from the New Testament) to the service of God in order to receive salvation. Either way you cut it someone is getting a raw deal.

Conclusion

This article has jumped around a little because there are so many juicy topics that branch off from it. But the core issue has to do with the lost time between God’s creation of man which, as we understand from science, must have happened at least 200,000 years ago and his efforts to communicate with mankind and make plain his redemptive plan which did not happen until around 3500 BC. This space of time is yet another massive logic gap in Christian reasoning. What you can extrapolate from this is that either God is extremely poor at communicating, extremely indecisive, extremely lazy, or does not care. You would have to be deluded to look at this information and still see a good God. Christians who want to defend a young earth have their work cut out for them. All of science stands as an unbreakable wall in front of them. Those who wish to defend an old earth have to contend with trying to reconcile their theory with what the Bible says, in addition to explaining the massive gap in the genealogy between Adam and Jesus, explaining how death could occur before sin and explaining the massive absence of God between Man’s creation and God’s communication. It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you sit on the gap is unbridgeable. Young earth creation has been absolutely destroyed by science and old earth creation is a compromise which does not go far enough. It is definitely worth pondering God’s motivation and questioning his actions. Does God act logically? Or do you just accept that “his ways are not our ways.” If you do ever critically analyse the actions and motivations of God you will quickly discover that they are not cohesive, they are not logical and they are most certainly not good.

[1] Adam, who is supposed to be the first man, sinned and so his sin was passed down to all of his genetic offspring.

[2] Anatomically modern humans first appear in the fossil record in Africa about 195,000 years ago (see Omo remains), and studies of molecular biology give evidence that the approximate time of divergence from the common ancestor of all modern human populations was 200,000 years ago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sapiens

[3] This means that you are born bad and inevitably destined to be a tortured for an eternity in hell. Sorry!

[4] Biologists now classify wisdom teeth as vestigial organs, or body parts that have become functionless due to evolution. http://scienceline.org/2007/02/ask-cooper-wisdomteeth.

[5] Also known as the Doppler effect.

[6] Sadly a selfish perspective.

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