Creation and Evolution, Part 1: Role of Consciousness
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• Wonders of the natural world
• The hummingbird
• Spectacular hikes
• Role of consciousness in creation and evolution
This is the first of three parts of a series on creation and evolution. It’s a mix of science and spiritual. I’m motivated by a need for clarity, as I’ve heard statements on the subject that seem way off the mark. As always, I use as much data and facts as possible, but there are times when my own experience and bias comes in. Your feedback and comments will be appreciated.
LET’S BEGIN WITH SOME WONDERS OF THE NATURAL WORLD. The whirlpool galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy, and one of the brightest in the sky. However, 75% of matter in this galaxy is missing. It’s called dark matter because we can’t see it or measure it, and we don’t know what it is. Don’t let anyone tell you that scientists know everything about the universe!
NEXT IS THE ANIMAL AND BIRD KINGDOM. The hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world. It can fly forward or backward, or hover. In daytime, its heart rate is 1200 bpm. It needs to feed full time to provide the necessary energy. But at night, the heart rate drops to 35 bpm so it can sleep and save energy and survive the night.
I’VE BEEN ON MANY HIKES, PARTICULARLY IN THE SOUTHWEST USA. One of my favorites is Hanging Lake — a steep hike in the Rocky Mountains outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. If you go there in summer, take a raft ride in the wild rapids of the Colorado River.
Another trail is one we took on a jeep – to Yankee Boy basin outside Ouray in southwest Colorado. The waterfalls and flowers and mountains were spectacular. The town of Ouray is called Little Switzerland because its surrounded by mountains.
HOW DO WONDERS OF THE NATURAL WORLD RELATE TO CREATION -EVOLUTION? As you viewed the above pictures, you may have felt AWE, POWER, WONDER, BEAUTY, etc. These are subjective levels of human consciousness. Sentience is the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience things subjectively (as distinct from reason). For example, red is a color that has to be experienced (you can’t explain it).
Animals have a lower level of consciousness. Dogs, such as Mary Ann’s morkie, can experience fear and love. But they don’t have the higher levels of consciousness and cannot perceive awe or wonder or beauty.
Where does human consciousness come from? The biblical answer is God. We are made in the image of God:
So God created man in His own image…. male and female he created them.
And God blessed them, and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.
[Genesis chapter 1]
CONSCIOUSNESS IS AN UNSOLVED PROBLEM FOR SCIENCE – EVOLUTION. You can read more about this if you click HERE (warning: it’s written by a new-atheist who discards any spiritual interpretation, and the writing is not easy to understand). The authors’ position is that consciousness is a spandrel. This word, coined by the famous paleontologist, Stephen Jay Gould, means that it’s a byproduct and not a direct result of natural (adaptive) selection in evolution.
For me, it’s easier to believe that God made the byproduct, and that homo sapiens is unique – made in the image of God. You can read more about spandrels, and how they upset the previous thinking of evolution by chance mutation and fitness for survival, by clicking HERE.
SO WHAT DOES “MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD” REALLY MEAN? I suggest there are two kinds of truth which are complementary, as shown in the image.
The new-atheists’ dilemma is to deny subjective truth in the spiritual arena – the right lens of the glasses. They deny God, and spiritual experience, because they claim that science cannot prove that God exists (I don’t know how they prove that beauty exists). Even if this were true, it would also be true that science cannot prove that God DOES NOT exist.
Another way to say this is that God is outside of science. If God created science, such as the law of gravity F = GxM1xM2 / D^2, then He is clearly outside of science. We wouldn’t be asking an ant to prove that a human landscaped the yard that the ant lives in.
My view is that the two lenses of the glasses are complementary ways of viewing the world. And BOTH ways are important for perceiving God and the natural universe.
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Thanks Ian, for another excellent blog post. I appreciate your insight, examples and very reasonable arguments. It is inconceivable to me that atheist-scientist can be so arrogant. The very study of nature is the acknowledgment of something to be discovered. If one would approach all scientific studies with this in mind, there would be no flat assertions of their unproven beliefs. To read the Scriptures, which are “living” words, assures us of the existence of a “living” God, and His hands-on involvement in all creation. I believe an investigation of any kind, including scientific studies, must keep all doors open, if conclusions are to be valid. Also one must include the possibility that God does not exist, if one is to be truly objective. That includes all rational and scientific data available, including the Holy Scriptures, both canonized and those not canonized. By my life-experiences and studies, I have a firm confirmation and testimony that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and the Holy Spirit lives and influences all who are humble, and all who desire and seek “Truth” with an open heart and mind.
I would concur Don, and add that spiritual experience may be a subjective experience, but the truth of it often shows up as a changed “way of life”. For example, as an effort to help others less fortunate, which for a Christian is simply a behavior modeled on the life of Jesus.
Love this, Ian. Thanks for writing it and including opposing views!
I’m continually baffled at the thought of consciousness. Somehow we were gifted with this tool to recognize our own presence and allow us to ponder. However, it’s hard for me to believe any human can be equipped with such consciousness and still claim that there is no God.
What happens in a person’s life that the truth printed on their hearts is still not enough for them to believe in a Creator?
Following your last-sentence question, I would add another. How can an educated person (who has not had the experience) simply dismiss multitudes of people who claim to have a spiritual experience with God? It would be like a person (who has not had the experience) dismissing travelers returning from Death Valley because they insist the desert was a beautiful experience in early morning and near sunset.
So if we evolved and evolution is about getting “better” then childbirth shouldn’t be a problem. “Nature” would have had an answer to the problem, and women could just slide those kids out with no pain. However, I think I’ll stick to the spiritual reason that it’s because we sinned, and God allowed it. Those evolutionists sure have a lot more faith than most of us Christian’s do.
Jack, the standard evolutionary explanation for painful childbirth is as follows:
This strange mélange of two basic adaptive strategies — an active brain with an inept body — is widely thought to have evolved because our unusually large brains and our peculiar, bipedal mode of getting around produce conflicting demands. This explanation is called the obstetrical dilemma. In humans, the size of the head of term fetuses is a tight fit for the mother’s bony birth canal. According to the obstetrical hypothesis, we need a wide pelvis to bear big-brained babies but a narrow one to walk or run efficiently. The compromise between these opposing needs is to carry babies as long as possible so that the brain can grow in utero and then — just before the baby’s head gets too big to fit through the birth canal — deliver the infant earlier relative to when other mammals deliver theirs.
However, I agree with your reasoning Jack…..a painful birth is NOT what you’d expect from evolution. But the evolutionists, after admitting its a dilemma, have come up with an explanation that seems concocted to me. I had never thought about this, but I think you’ve made an astute point.
I enjoyed reading this blog. It is a rich subject and not well covered by good writers. It has been made difficult in my opinion by intemperate writings of young earth creationists who are economical with truth.
Greg Sheridan, an Australian, argues there are severe problems of logic with atheistic evolution:
(1) It is a system of belief just like religion.
(2) There are unanswerable questions like what was there before the “Big Bang”. When asked this on an Australian QandA program a few years ago, Richard Dawkins replied (astonishingly) “…there are some questions which must not be asked.”
(3) Evolution does not explain the origin of, for example, the laws of physics.
(4) A common argument from atheists is that belief in God is inversely proportional to a person’s education – but confounded by people like Francis Collins (Leader of Human Genome Project) and John Lennox (Prof of Pure mathematics at Oxford and author of “The Dawkins Delusion”
(5) Then there is the problem of sick people – in an atheistic evolutionary world there should be no need for hospitals.
Thanks Neil for your feedback. I appreciate the list of outliers that can’t be explained by evolutionary theory. I had created a partial list of such things, and my list will be in my summary of the presentation I made today…coming to you as a new blog (Part 2) in a few days.
Really great read! Love the details and thoughts of how our consciousness is created in God’s image. Glad I was able to be in awe when visiting the Hanging lake trail with you Kara, Kim, and Jaden awhile back! Enjoy your points of science and faith. Many people struggle with these concepts and I think this information is something they need to hear, glad you’re choosing to write about this challenging topic and talk with others about it. Really really enjoyed the quote about how an ant isn’t ask to prove to a human that the human landscaped the yard he lives in.
Hi Kennedy. Really nice to hear from a Gen Z-er. I do remember our hike to Hanging Lake all those years ago. I was upset because you and Kara couldn’t calculate fractions of miles. My how far you both have come! That statement about the ant popped into my mind unexpectedly, early one morning. I’m glad you like it.