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Author Topic: Gods and Evolution  (Read 13918 times)
Taliesin
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« Topic Start: September 16, 2010, 05:14:42 pm »

A few questions came to mind during my biology lesson on evolution today. For those of you who believe in/work with/worship (etc) Gods, what is your take on the theory of evolution/the big bang theory, etc? In my own mind, I'm not sure what I think. To me, the whole concept of evolution and our beginnings seems logical. I struggle to fit my Gods into that, however. Are they younger than the Earth? Older? Or just older/younger than ourselves? The creative force, or created by a force that started the Earth in the first place? And at the end of the day, does it really matter? This may not make much sense, I'm still trying to work it out in my mind as well. It would just be interesting to hear a few thoughts.
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« Reply #1: September 16, 2010, 05:29:22 pm »

A few questions came to mind during my biology lesson on evolution today. For those of you who believe in/work with/worship (etc) Gods, what is your take on the theory of evolution/the big bang theory, etc? In my own mind, I'm not sure what I think. To me, the whole concept of evolution and our beginnings seems logical. I struggle to fit my Gods into that, however. Are they younger than the Earth? Older? Or just older/younger than ourselves?

The first thing is the Theory of Evolution and the Standard Model (aka the Big Bang) are two separate and pretty much unrelated things (for those who may find the OP's phrasing confusing). Neither theory rules out deities or deity intervention, but they show that the universe (and humans) could exist without deity intervention.
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« Reply #2: September 16, 2010, 05:51:56 pm »

The first thing is the Theory of Evolution and the Standard Model (aka the Big Bang) are two separate and pretty much unrelated things (for those who may find the OP's phrasing confusing). Neither theory rules out deities or deity intervention, but they show that the universe (and humans) could exist without deity intervention.

Thank you! Apologies, I don't really know what I'm saying myself sometimes. Cheesy
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« Reply #3: September 16, 2010, 07:11:54 pm »

A few questions came to mind during my biology lesson on evolution today. For those of you who believe in/work with/worship (etc) Gods, what is your take on the theory of evolution/the big bang theory, etc? In my own mind, I'm not sure what I think. To me, the whole concept of evolution and our beginnings seems logical. I struggle to fit my Gods into that, however. Are they younger than the Earth? Older? Or just older/younger than ourselves? The creative force, or created by a force that started the Earth in the first place? And at the end of the day, does it really matter? This may not make much sense, I'm still trying to work it out in my mind as well. It would just be interesting to hear a few thoughts.

I just posted my more poetic answer to that over in the Creation thread (specifically at http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=14000.0;p=6)

But:

- I believe everything begins with the primal ocean and the spark of lightning that made life form. (Or whatever that trigger was: I like lightning.)

- From that, the physical grows - but so do the spirits of those things. Of those elemental forces, of the things that swim, and crawl and walk and fly.

- And eventually, some of those spirits gain more and more distinct personality and story and narrative of their own (these become gods, and other beings with a clear personality). Some of those grow over time, some fade. And all through that, you have the spirits of the land, and the things alive on the land (and the ocean, and so on).

This means that the Gods are younger than the earth, but how much younger depends on what they associate with, for example: gods of the ocean as ocean would precede, say, gods of agriculture (who would probably predate a god of sailing, and so on and so forth.)

It mostly doesn't matter to me in any practical sense, but I wrote it up as an assignment for my 3rd degree work, and ever since keep circling back to the lightning setting the ocean afire image.
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« Reply #4: September 17, 2010, 03:23:14 pm »

I just posted my more poetic answer to that over in the Creation thread (specifically at http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=14000.0;p=6)

But:

- I believe everything begins with the primal ocean and the spark of lightning that made life form. (Or whatever that trigger was: I like lightning.)

- From that, the physical grows - but so do the spirits of those things. Of those elemental forces, of the things that swim, and crawl and walk and fly.

- And eventually, some of those spirits gain more and more distinct personality and story and narrative of their own (these become gods, and other beings with a clear personality). Some of those grow over time, some fade. And all through that, you have the spirits of the land, and the things alive on the land (and the ocean, and so on).

This means that the Gods are younger than the earth, but how much younger depends on what they associate with, for example: gods of the ocean as ocean would precede, say, gods of agriculture (who would probably predate a god of sailing, and so on and so forth.)

It mostly doesn't matter to me in any practical sense, but I wrote it up as an assignment for my 3rd degree work, and ever since keep circling back to the lightning setting the ocean afire image.


Whoa, thank you for sharing! I know you said feel free, but just to double check: would you mind if I save a copy of that? It makes a whole lot of sense to me, and the image itself is quite beautiful. I don't know how it didn't occur to me that spirit could evolve. I only thought of it on a physical level. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #5: September 17, 2010, 04:57:52 pm »


Whoa, thank you for sharing! I know you said feel free, but just to double check: would you mind if I save a copy of that? It makes a whole lot of sense to me, and the image itself is quite beautiful. I don't know how it didn't occur to me that spirit could evolve. I only thought of it on a physical level. Roll Eyes

Go right ahead (that's why I put the note in - as I said, I just want to know before it gets shared elsewhere).

I'm trying to remember how I got to the point of spirits evolving alongside the physical, but I think it came out of some of the conversations with my father and others (my father was a specialist in ancient Greek theatre, so I grew up on the Greek myths) about the differences between the Titans and the Olympians. There's other ways to explain that one, but I kept coming back to the idea of things growing and refining and splitting off the way living beings do.
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« Reply #6: September 20, 2010, 09:04:52 pm »

I just posted my more poetic answer to that over in the Creation thread (specifically at http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=14000.0;p=6)

But:

- I believe everything begins with the primal ocean and the spark of lightning that made life form. (Or whatever that trigger was: I like lightning.)

- From that, the physical grows - but so do the spirits of those things. Of those elemental forces, of the things that swim, and crawl and walk and fly.

- And eventually, some of those spirits gain more and more distinct personality and story and narrative of their own (these become gods, and other beings with a clear personality). Some of those grow over time, some fade. And all through that, you have the spirits of the land, and the things alive on the land (and the ocean, and so on).

This means that the Gods are younger than the earth, but how much younger depends on what they associate with, for example: gods of the ocean as ocean would precede, say, gods of agriculture (who would probably predate a god of sailing, and so on and so forth.)

It mostly doesn't matter to me in any practical sense, but I wrote it up as an assignment for my 3rd degree work, and ever since keep circling back to the lightning setting the ocean afire image.

This was amazing, thanks. I wish there was a fancy-schmancy bowing down in homage emoticon!  Smiley I got kind of goosebumply, and I have no idea why. But I got an almost overwhelming urge to connect with Manannan. Hmmm.
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« Reply #7: September 22, 2010, 03:22:48 pm »

I just posted my more poetic answer to that over in the Creation thread (specifically at http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=14000.0;p=6)

But:

- I believe everything begins with the primal ocean and the spark of lightning that made life form. (Or whatever that trigger was: I like lightning.)

- From that, the physical grows - but so do the spirits of those things. Of those elemental forces, of the things that swim, and crawl and walk and fly.

- And eventually, some of those spirits gain more and more distinct personality and story and narrative of their own (these become gods, and other beings with a clear personality). Some of those grow over time, some fade. And all through that, you have the spirits of the land, and the things alive on the land (and the ocean, and so on).

This means that the Gods are younger than the earth, but how much younger depends on what they associate with, for example: gods of the ocean as ocean would precede, say, gods of agriculture (who would probably predate a god of sailing, and so on and so forth.)

It mostly doesn't matter to me in any practical sense, but I wrote it up as an assignment for my 3rd degree work, and ever since keep circling back to the lightning setting the ocean afire image.

The lightning idea is very interesting to me because there is a hypothesis that electrical discharges from lightning might have triggered formation of many of the molecules - amino acids and so on - that make up living beings from a sort of "chemical soup", if you will, when the Earth's climate was rather different to how it is now. If I recall correctly, this theory isn't necessarily entirely waterproof, but I thought it might interest you too. I'll have to look it up for more details since all I can remember is something we were taught in lectures for my degree, years ago.

On the topic of evolution, I think it is the most likely explanation for the state of life on Earth as it is now. The evidence is even more visible on the molecular level. It doesn't conflict in any way with my beliefs, since I don't believe in an ultimate creator deity myself. If I did, I think I'd be of the opinion that perhaps said deity set the ball rolling, or just watched things unfold and shaped things as they did, using the process rather than making it happen. But I am of the opinion that a "Godless creation" is possible, even if there was a God or there were Gods present in some way. You could say if such a God really wanted human beings to believe in you on the basis of faith, rather than there being no other option, their best bet would be to cover their tracks and do things in a way which didn't prove or disprove their existence.
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« Reply #8: September 22, 2010, 06:45:52 pm »

... If I did, I think I'd be of the opinion that perhaps said deity set the ball rolling, or just watched things unfold and shaped things as they did, using the process rather than making it happen. But I am of the opinion that a "Godless creation" is possible, even if there was a God or there were Gods present in some way. You could say if such a God really wanted human beings to believe in you on the basis of faith, rather than there being no other option, their best bet would be to cover their tracks and do things in a way which didn't prove or disprove their existence.

My father, who is Christian, always said to us as children: "Well, nowhere in Genesis does it say that each day was 24 hours.  A day could have been millions of years...and only God knows for sure." 

Needless to say, my brothers and I grew up believing that evolution, the Big Bang, etc. were completely compatible with religion.  Despite changing religions several times since, I still agree.
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« Reply #9: September 23, 2010, 02:27:45 pm »

My father, who is Christian, always said to us as children: "Well, nowhere in Genesis does it say that each day was 24 hours.  A day could have been millions of years...and only God knows for sure." 

Needless to say, my brothers and I grew up believing that evolution, the Big Bang, etc. were completely compatible with religion.  Despite changing religions several times since, I still agree.

Growing up Catholic, I heard the same thing from Jesuits.  But then fundies will tell you Catholics aren't Christian.....
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« Reply #10: November 10, 2010, 04:56:41 pm »

Growing up Catholic, I heard the same thing from Jesuits.  But then fundies will tell you Catholics aren't Christian.....
Perhaps they were thinking of 2 Peter 3: "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."  Rather near the wonderful phrase "like a thief in the night" too.  I think there is some very powerful poetry in here...
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« Reply #11: November 10, 2010, 09:18:13 pm »

A few questions came to mind during my biology lesson on evolution today. For those of you who believe in/work with/worship (etc) Gods, what is your take on the theory of evolution/the big bang theory, etc? In my own mind, I'm not sure what I think. To me, the whole concept of evolution and our beginnings seems logical. I struggle to fit my Gods into that, however. Are they younger than the Earth? Older? Or just older/younger than ourselves? The creative force, or created by a force that started the Earth in the first place? And at the end of the day, does it really matter? This may not make much sense, I'm still trying to work it out in my mind as well. It would just be interesting to hear a few thoughts.

I definitely believe in evolution, t he process makes sense and there's plenty of proof for it.  The part I've always had trouble with is the origin of the actual universe.  I just can't wrap my head around an explosion (I know I'm oversimplifying the big bang) starting everything.  I keep thinking that there must have been some sort of deity/deities to start everything, but than that begs the question of where did the deity/deities come from? 
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« Reply #12: November 10, 2010, 10:15:13 pm »

I keep thinking that there must have been some sort of deity/deities to start everything, but than that begs the question of where did the deity/deities come from? 

There's no reason a deity or deities could not have been involved even with the Big Bang. They might not have been required for the universe to come into existence, but there is certainly nothing in the Standard Theory (aka the Big Bang/Inflation theory) that would rule them out.
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« Reply #13: November 11, 2010, 09:38:12 am »

There's no reason a deity or deities could not have been involved even with the Big Bang. They might not have been required for the universe to come into existence, but there is certainly nothing in the Standard Theory (aka the Big Bang/Inflation theory) that would rule them out.

Then the next question would be where did the deity or deities come from?
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« Reply #14: November 11, 2010, 04:52:00 pm »

Then the next question would be where did the deity or deities come from?

Perhaps the same place the universe may have -- a fluctuation in the the quantum vacuum? Instead of creating a universe, you got a deity. Note this answer is only semi-serious.
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