Cosmology According to Genesis – Part 2: Weighing the Directional Light Scenario

The directional-light/rotating-Earth scenario is analyzed and its shortcomings are pointed out.

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The first part presented the main questions and went into some details in regards to the following questions related to the original light God created in Gen. 1:3:

  • Did God create the light itself or the source of the light?
  • Was the light localized?
  • What happened to this original light?
  • How was the day/night cycle achieved?
  • Was God’s bringing about the darkness a separate act from the creation of light?

The conclusion of Part 1 was that a sourceless, non-localized seems to be the best explanation to all of these questions (except the one about the day/night cycle). By sourceless light, I mean that God created the light itself, not a source of light. By non-localized light I mean that the light was not localized to a specific place and therefore the light did not come from a specific direction (as a sourced light is) but came from all directions (so that the light was omnidirectional). This means that the whole sky was shining not just a spot on the sky (as it’s the case with the Sun). Of course, this requires that the whole sky was not shining as bright as the Sun. More light (coming from all over the sky) of less intensity would have done the same job as the Sun. However, the problem with the non-localized light explanation is that at first sight it doesn’t seem to provide a very good explanation of how the night/day cycle was achieved. On this point, an alternative explanation (a directional light together with a rotating Earth) seems to provide a better explanation—the one that we have today. If the light is directional (as it is the case now, coming from the direction of the Sun) then the side of the Earth opposite to the Sun would be in darkness—in the shadow cast by the Earth itself. If further the Earth is rotating then we have a cycle of day and night just as we have today (except that the initial light did not come from the Sun which was created later and took over as the source of light).

However, there are some problems with this directional-light/rotating-Earth explanation:

  1. As discussed in Part 1, such an explanation (directional light plus rotating Earth) provides a less satisfactory answer to all the other questions mentioned above.
  2. The first light was clearly a special case—it was not the light from the Sun that we are now accustomed to. Further, it didn’t seem to have a source. The first sequence of day and night was special as well. The first day had no sunrise and no sunset. This differences from the present conditions make it likely that the mechanism used for the day cycle would have been different than the one in place today (when the light is coming from one direction and the night is created by the rotating Earth’s own shadow)—which is what the directional light explanation proposes.
  3. The separation of light/darkness in Gen. 1:4 seems to be separate and distinct from the separation of day/night, light/darkness din Gen. 1:14, 16, 18. However, in the directional-light/rotating-Earth scenario, part of the mechanism (Earth’s rotation) used in the later verses is already in place in the first verses which makes for less of a distinction than the text seems to imply.
  4. In a directional-light/rotating-Earth scenario it is difficult to say whether “it is evening” or “it is morning” because both of them existed at the same time. One could say that there was light and day after the creation of light (which was the case for one half of the Earth) but at the same time one could that the darkness and night continued after the creation of the light (which was the case for the other half). One may be tempted to point to the location of Eden as a point of reference (saying that Eden was on the dark side of the Earth at first). But this is not satisfactory because on the first day there was no Eden. Given that the Earth was formless and void with land not yet separated from waters, there was no point of reference and thus this distinction seems arbitrary.
  5. The fact that the sequence is presented as night/day (or, more exactly, evening/morning) instead of day/night, light/darkness seems rather odd given this explanation. Not only that this distinction is arbitrary but picking the darkness/night first doesn’t fit with other references to light in Gen. 1 (and generally in the Bible) where the light and the day are put first and the darkness and the night second second (Gen. 1:4, 14, 18).

The question then is whether can we arrive at a mechanism for the day/night cycle based on the omnidirectional light explanation that adheres to a plain reading and also addresses the points above? My answer is an emphatic yes and will be discussed in the next post.

Cosmology According to Genesis – Part 1: The Main Questions

Can we work out a logically consistent cosmology based on Genesis 1?

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There are several important questions to be answered in order to derive a Genesis based cosmogony and cosmology. Some key terms from Genesis 1 need first to be clarified, such as day, light and waters.

In this post I’ll address the second term, light, and the corresponding question What is the meaning of light in Gen. 1? This discussion assumes that /day/ means what it would have most likely meant to the original audience of the book of Genesis: a 24 hour time interval or something comparable (I may discuss this in another post).

Another important question is about the structure of Genesis 1. In particular, whether the first verse is an opening verse or a summary of the whole chapter (or something in between). I will leave this discussion along with the meaning of waters and day mean for later posts.

There are several questions to be asked about the light form Gen. 1:3 (‘And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.’).

1. What was the original light?

It’s pretty clear that it was visible light (since it was contrasted to dark and evening) and that it seemed to have supported vegetation before the Sun did (given that the Sun was created after vegetation was created).

2. Was the light created at the very beginning of creation or subsequent to that?

The answer should be pretty obvious here. First there was darkness (Gen. 1:2) and then there was light (Gen. 1:3).

3. Did God create the light itself or the source of the light?

The plain reading of the Bible clearly supports a sourceless light. Verse 3 mentions the creation of the light itself in contrast with the creation of the sources of light (like the Sun and the stars) which happened later in verses 14-18.

4. Was the light localized?

That is, did the light come from one place and one direction (as it happens when it’s coming from a source of light) or was it omnidirectional, coming from all directions? Since it seems that this light didn’t have a source of light (see the question above), it seems more likely that it was non-localized and omnidirectional. Why would God create the light as though coming from a source when in fact it didn’t come from any light source? Not only that but, in order to produce the day/night sequence (to be discussed below), God would have had to create the light in transit in such a way to very much look like coming from a source. One seeing such light would easily be mislead to believe that it’s coming from a source and it doesn’t seem that God would intend that.

The difference between localized and non-localized light is the difference between the light coming from the Sun and CMB (the cosmic microwave background radiation). The latter can always be measured at any point and, when measured, it will be coming from all directions. To delve further into the difference we can consider the perceived “constancy” of the light. The Sun’s light, once observed, it’s gone. The Sun constantly produces new light and therefore we’ll see new light coming and gives the impression that the light persists and “stays” where we see it. But God created the initial light in an act not in a process. This doesn’t fit well with the localized light scenario. An omnidirectional light, like CMB, does not require new light to be created. Since light goes in all directions then at any point there will always be other light coming to that point (light which is not newly produced). Therefore, to an observer, the light seems to persist. The difference is that it now seems to persist from all over the sky (the whole sky was shining as opposed to the Sun shining).

Another difference is that localized light will create darkness (as objects casts shadows—the side of the Earth opposite to the Sun) but an omnidirectional light could not create darkness. This has implications for other questions below.

5. What happened to this original light?

First, the Bible doesn’t say that God later annihilated the light. In regards to its relation to darkness, God “separated” the light from the darkness. He did not spoke the light out of existence. He did not replace it with darkness. Further, after this separation (and before the creation of the Sun and stars) there was light again. There was no mention of new light created so it must be the same light. This means it was not annihilated. If it was annihilated later, after the creation of the Sun we would expect some mentioning of it. And the whole annihilation does not fit well neither with the idea of creation (which is the very opposite of annihilation) nor the fact that God called the creation “good” (if it’s good why destroy it?). Therefore, it seems more likely that God did not destroy the light He created in the beginning.

If it was localized and unidirectional then the light will have likely just ended up far away, lost in the vastness of space. But, again, it seems more likely that it was not localized and that means that it should still be around. CMB (the cosmic microwave background radiation) fits the bill here except that it’s not in the visible range. However, just like in the Big Ban theory, an expansion of space after the initial creation of the light could have turned the initial light into CMB.

6. How was the day/night cycle achieved?

If the source of light was localized (and thus the light was directional coming from that source) and the earth was rotating then the two together would explain the cycle. Thus, darkness characterized the side of the Earth that was opposite to the Sun and, due to Earth’s rotation, any place on the Earth, such as Eden, would cycle through day and night. This makes sense and it’s what we know to be happening now it’s not necessarily what happened at the beginning. For one thing, the first days had no sunsets and no sun dawns (simply because there was no Sun yet). They were not the regular days and things being different on those first days should not be unexpected.

Further, as pointed out under question #3 above, such a localized light doesn’t seem to fit Gen. 1. Localized sources of light were clearly created later. But if the light was non-localized then the outstanding question to be addressed in the next post is, given non-localized light how was the cycle achieved?

Another proposed suggestion was that the initial light was pulsating (switched on and off to produce the day/night cycle). This scenario would involve either localized or non-localized light but is problematic because, without a source, the light must effectively be destroyed and then recreated again when it’s turned on. That’s certainly not the plain reading of the Gen. 1.

7. Was God’s bringing about the darkness a separate act from the creation of light?1

Picking up on the localize light/rotating Earth answer above, it further poses a problem because it implies that the answer to the current question (if bringing about darkness was a separate act) is “no.” In this scenario darkness would automatically happen due to the given setup, how a localized light plus a rotating Earth work. Darkness would simply be an implicit side effect of interposing an object (the Earth) in the path of a directional light so that half of the Earth would be in the shadow it itself casts. This is a problem because it doesn’t fit with the language of Gen. 1 where bringing about darkness took a distinct step subsequent to the creation of light: the separation of light from darkness (v. 3-4). (Also, the separation of the waters may to be related to the next cycle of evening and morning, see v. 7-8.) God had to do something to separate the light form darkness but in the localized light/rotating Earth scenario He would have not had to do anything since it was simple a natural effect of the setup already in place.

On the other hand, another problem with the localized light is that it does require a separate mechanism for darkness on the first evening. On subsequent evenings the darkness was achieved by the shadow cast by the Earth while there is no shadow for the first evening. There is however no reference in Gen. that there was such a change of mechanism.

The one distinction that seems to be made by Genesis is the one implied by stating twice the separation of light from darkness (first in 1:4 and then in 1:14-18). If light was already separated from the darkness (and a mechanism for the day/night cycle was already in place) it wouldn’t make sense to separate the light from darkness again unless there is a new kind of separation, a new mechanism that takes over the old one. But the localized/rotating-Earth explanation doesn’t fit because there is no major change in the mechanism (the same rotation of the Earth is used in both cases). Therefore the directional light explanation requires more distinctions that the Genesis seems to make (change in the mechanism through which the night was achieved from the first night to the rest) and doesn’t make a distinction when the text does make one (the distinction between the first separation of light and dark in 1:4 and the one in 1:14-18).

 

Conclusion

It seems that a sourceless, omnidirectional light is the most likely answer and the most plain reading of the text for most questions above. However, for question #5 (about the cycle), this answer doesn’t seem to fit while the alternate answer (a directional light with a rotating Earth) seems to make more sense. However, my proposal (which I’ll discuss in the next post) is that we can interpret Gen. 1 so that the sourcless/omnidirectional light can not only properly explain the cycle but also be the plain reading of the text. Of course, this is my own interpretation of Genesis 1 and I don’t claim it to be the absolute truth. But I honestly find it to make sense.

Note: The blog (question #6 and #7) was updated on 11/25/2017.

Footnotes:
1 Credit goes to Ticho for pointing out this aspect (on a non-public discussion group).

The Pence Diversion

Is Pence’s leaving early from the Colt’s game a political stunt or just a diversion?

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Recently the liberal media made a point that Vice president Mike Pence’s leaving early from a Colts’ game when about 20 players knelt for the national anthem was a political stunt. But if it was a political stunt then what was the players’ kneeling? If Pence’s action was premeditated then how was the player’s action? The liberal media frames the stories in a such a way in order to manipulate the masses. The same type of premeditated action is framed, in case of NFL players, as something great and honorable, standing up for what they believe (well, in this case for standing down for what they don’t believe in). As Peter Heck points out, the liberal sports writers “have fallen all over themselves applauding the publicity stunt of players taking a knee during the anthem for weeks now.” But when it’s not in their favor it’s framed in a negative light as a “political stunt.” This way the masses’ attention will be distracted from the fact that, if the NFL players have the right to stand down for our country’s flag then Pence (as well as anybody else) has even more right to not want to see an NFL game where the country’s flag is dishonored. But the media’s pointing to a “political stunt” is a diversion. It’s political manipulation and it’s so Orwellian and so typical of liberals.

Pence said that he left the game “because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem.” Well, that sounds too good to give it to the conservatives, let’s make it be about being a political stunt. I’m pretty sure that Pence realized that it will draw the public’s attention but his office said that the ticket was bought well in advance because “former Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning was set to be honored at the game.” But regardless when the ticket was bought, the kneeling NFL players also realized very well that their action will draw the public’s attention. Most likely that’s the main reason that they did it in the first place. They didn’t do that before the Kaepernick’s first public display of kneeling down for the anthem. They didn’t do it before this was publicized as an act of protest against the country’s leadership. It’s not that their beliefs changed. It’s just that they found a venue to advertise what they believed—a way which was deeply offensive to Trump’s administration and many Americans. They wanted to make a point—which makes it a political stunt. Therefore, if Pence’s action was a political stunt, the NFL players’ was even more so. If Pence’s action was premeditated, the NFL player’s was even more so. But to the liberal media the former is a disgraceful premeditated political stunt and the latter is a right and an action worthy of praise. Each event in a different light in order to influence the public’s beliefs and views.

Another response to Pence’s action is claiming that it cost taxpayers reportedly $250,000. Sports writer Zac Keefer made the same point. One could easily point out, based on data the Business Insider acknowledges that, considering that $45,000 trip that Pence had to make anyway, and the fact that Republican National Committee will reimburse anyway a part of the trip, the cost becomes much smaller. But the issue is not the cost. If they cared so much about the tax payer’s money they could have also questioned many of Obama’s trips, such as his golf trips. But they didn’t. The whole point is to create a diversion, to distract the public’s attention from the meaning Pence himself claimed for his action (as to not dignify the disrespect for our country’s soldiers, flag and anthem). Such a meaning, in the public’s minds, is damaging to the liberals marketing (the use of NFL player’s kneeling for their advertising) and they employ diversion as a means of damage control. It’s sand thrown in public’s eyes so that they can’t see what the liberal media doesn’t want them to see.

But the most impressive fact is how blind some liberals are. Stephen Holder who called Pence’s action “pre-planned outrage” and “fake outrage,” and “total publicity stunt,” was asked “to clarify whether it qualifies as a publicity stunt when players kneel.” His response was: “Probably to you, because you either aren’t listening to them or don’t care. Good day.” The irony is that in the midst of being blind to his own bias, Holder accuses Tony Katz (who asked the question) of being biased and insensitive. As Peter Heck puts it:

Sorry, but that’s just too funny. I’m guessing Holder doesn’t even realize that the exact same thing can be said about his response to Pence: Holder either isn’t listening to Pence when he explains why he left, or he doesn’t care. The vice president stayed, stood, and honored the flag and anthem while it was performed. He chose not to stay and honor the players who disrespected that flag with his presence at their game – like countless other fans have done as well. This isn’t that difficult to understand.

Keefer, Doyel, and Holder don’t want anyone telling players they have to stand for the anthem. But they’re totally fine with telling the vice president he has to stay for the game. This might be why they write about balls for a living.

The Pence incident is just an example but it is so typical of how liberal media deals with the events they report. I’m not saying that the conservative media doesn’t have bias. More or less, everybody does. I do. You do. But the hypocrisy of the liberal media, their self-righteousness (or, in their language, self-political-correctness), their reframing of the data in such away to manipulate the public opinion needs to be pointed out. (And yes, political correctness is another reframing of terms but that’s for another post.)


PS To the liberal readers: While this is about the media bias (and some are so blind that they don’t even realize how they manipulate the public because they deceived themselves to believe what they are saying before selling it to the public which is worse than marketers which at least are aware of what they are doing) this is also an opportunity to find out your political bias level. This is for liberal readers not because the conservative ones don’t have any bias to test but just that this happens to be a good test for ones and not for the others.

For a liberal reader, there are two elements involved here. One has to do with truth and the other with liberalism.

An unbiased liberal reader will care about truth before about caring about taking sides. It’s sad situation when people’s ability to look at the truth is impeded and their beliefs are manipulated. An unbiased reader will welcome when such manipulation is pointed out and will be glad that it was caught. On the other hand, a biased liberal reader will be upset with the whole blog—after all, it reflects negatively on liberals. He will care more about one’s side than about truth. It’s simply because, to him, it’s about pushing liberalism forward more than pushing the truth forward. Regardless if you like it or not, that’s the difference between the attitude of a biased and unbiased liberal (well, more exactly, between a mostly unbiased and mostly biased liberal). The same difference applies to conservatives to any other kind of bias for that matter.

They say that love is blind. Not only that bias leads to cognitive blindness but also that “love” will be easily saddened and offended and will make the topic a “hot topic.” Just try to say something true and negative to a parent about his or her kids. The more negative it is, the more likely the parent will disagree with you and get upset. An impartial judge will not have much emotional involvement nor interest in any side winning and therefore will not get upset if either side looses. An impartial judge will have a “cool” judgment of the facts. This is exactly what we have here. And where you position yourself in the range between “I’m glad I read this and caught this situation. People should know when they are manipulated by the media” and “I’m upset this makes liberals look bad. These are all stinking lies!” will tell you how strong your bias is. The more upset and defensive you got the more biased you are. That’s simply how it works. The more love, interest and emotional involvement you have with a side of a debate the more biased you are and the more upset you will be when your side will be put in a negative light. After all, they are right, love is blind. When you have a side to protect you will get defensive and emotional. But when you have the truth to uphold then sides don’t matter and you will keep your cool.  This test is not about being liberal or conservative. It’s about you being honest to yourself. You’ve got nobody else to fool or honor here.

Of course, here I assume that the data indeed strongly points out that some liberal media outlets are indeed hypocritical and manipulative, at least in this respect. I find the facts just too hard to deny. But if you think I’m wrong in my assessment please comment below and I’ll be willing to reconsider my point.

The Prayer that Changes Hearts

Prayer does make a difference. But it’s not as much that God answers our prayers to change us but rather that He uses our prayers to change us.

StockSnap_O3WNR5BS7AThe question I asked in the previous post was how can we tilt the “how can we tilt the balance in this tug-of-war” that’s going on in our human nature (described in an earlier post). If you believe in God like I do, you may mention prayer and God’s help. Many think that prayer connects you to God’s supernatural power. Yes, it’s true but more than that prayer connects God to your failing, broken will power. More than you achieving something (that you pray for) through God it is God achieving something (character, the fruit of the Holy Spirit – Gal. 5:22-23) in you. In God’s eyes the latter is often more important than the former.

God has many good reasons not to display his supernatural power directly (and indeed most don’t claim to see direct miracles left and right). That’s outside the scope of this post but I will illustrate one reason that pertains to our topic. There are things that my two kids (a 3 and a 5 year old) find hard to do but instead of helping them I sometimes have them do those things themselves. Why? It’s because that’s how they learn. That’s how they become stronger and more skilled. The hard way is the best teacher. But God has in mind for us things much more important than what I have for my kids. God doesn’t want the answer to our prayers to be just a solution but rather a character builder. That’s particularly true when the solution has to do with our character and mindset as it’s the case with achieving our goals. Character is more than a solution or some means. It’s the end goal God has for you. It defines who you are. And it has a proper name: Jesus (Phil. 2:5; 3:10; Col. 1:27; Gal. 2:20).

Therefore there are some things God does for you and some things that you need to do for yourself. The saying “God helps those who help themselves” is often used to mean that you only have to rely on yourself. While helping yourself helps, for some goals that’s not enough. I either know or heard of many addicts who could just not help themselves. But some of them did their part in asking God for help and God and did the rest. The same is true for people who couldn’t forgive our couldn’t humble themselves.

Just as God has a part (like in the examples above), you, as a Christian, have a part as well and it includes prayer. James says: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8 ESV). Jesus says: “Abide in me, and I in you.” (John 15:4, 7). A few verses later “If you keep My commandments…” (v. 10, 14). In other words, if you do your part I will do Mine. Jesus died for all but not all people are saved. On the contrary, Jesus says that “broad is the road that leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13). People need to believe (John 3:16) and belief is, in a way, like prayer. God doesn’t take over our free will. He takes us through a process of learning so that, in the end, we freely submit it to God. This happens when we come to the realization that He knows better, He sees farther and He loves more.

In conclusion, yes, praying to change indeed tips the tug-of-war that’s going on in our human nature in favor of mind and long term goals over body and instant gratification. But it’s not as much that God answers our prayers to change us but rather that He uses our prayers to change us. Soren Kierkegaard said that “prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” The best prayer is not the prayer that changes things because, after all, they are just things. The best prayer is the one that changes hearts because, after all, they are more precious than all the things in the world (Mark 8:36). In the next post we’ll see how prayer works and how this change happens. I’ll end with an anonymous prayer, And God Said “No”, which includes the following verses:

I asked God to take away my pride,

And God said “No”

He said it was not for him to take away

But for me to give up

I asked God to grant me patience,

And God said “No”.

He said that patience is a byproduct of tribulation,

It isn’t granted, it is earned.