Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Creation and Evolution: A Christian Witch Perspective

I have to admit it, I was never that close to the earth and her seasons and her influences until I became a witch. Now, that doesn't mean I was a litter bug or anything like that, it just means that I was never that perceptive of the way the earth affects and influences the individual.

One of the things I have always believed about the creation of the earth is the notion that God took his own time creating her and the metaphors of time written in the Old Testament were simply that, metaphors. They were a way for early people to understand how God created the earth and how it became the way it is now.

So, for good or for bad, I will explain how I think the earth was created and remains the product of a divine hand. We are told through science that somewhere in space, particles were brought together and energy was produced that caused these particles to form a mass that eventually exploded, the big bang theory. These particles spun out from the center of the explosion but eventually stabilized into a slower pattern that now spins around the sun, the center of the universe and the source of the particles that are now our stars and planets and even other galaxies that created their own centers and systems spinning around them.

As the earth cooled, there were chemical reactions that created things like water, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, all of the things that comprise life. Life begins as simple forms of bacteria that evolve into plants, animals, insects and sometime or another an intelligent primate appears and that is the beginning of human existence on the earth. I know this is very simple but bear with me. I'm not a physicist or biologist and only a fair paleontologist.

This we are told by scientists was a very slow and complex process, affected by the changes the earth underwent. Animals lived, reproduced and and died by the whims of the weather and the earth. So it was for primitive man.

Sometime during the development of man, they begin to consider how they came to be, how they came to live in this place and what was beyond them, in this world and the next. They tried to puzzle out these questions by observing nature. They did not understand thunder and the lightening and the hurricanes and tornadoes and the tides and the volcanoes, so they believed they must be the presence of the gods and they studied and meditated on the gods and some believed because they were patient and prayerful that they were given revelations about the gods and how they came to be and how the earth was made.

And the writer of the first five books of the Bible was no different. Moses was a Hebrew, born among the slaves of Egypt but he was raised by the sister of the Pharaoh who thought Moses was a gift to her from her dead husband. He was raised among the other royal children and was taught the ways and cultures and histories and religion of the Egyptians. When he is exiled from Egypt, he goes out to find the people of his birth and he found the people of Midean, people who would eventually become Muslims and they told him the stories of their religious beliefs, which was basically Hebrew. As Moses gains authority in his own people, he decides to compile all the stories he heard (as they were primarily oral traditions) to make a permanent record of the stories he heard.

He hears that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, but we are also told that a thousand years is but a day unto the Lord. We hear fabulous stories of Methuselah who was well over 900 years old when he died. So, one of the things we as philosophers must accept is that God does not count time the same way as humans do. For us, time is arbitrary, we simply say one day is from dawn to dark. We count time in the most basic way.

So what if Day One of Creation is longer? Day One then is the period of the big bang. God pulls to himself all the energies that exist to him and in a clap of his hands, causes the big bang to create the planet we stand on. Day Two is the cooling period wherein the waters and the atmosphere is created. Day Three is the beginning of simple life and so on until we get to the emergence of man.

Now, I personally don't believe we evolved from apes. I think our genetic partnership with the great apes is one we share with all living things, break us down and we are all carbon. What man evolved from was a primitive, thinking creature that began to contemplate beyond his circumstance and as he evolved his understanding became more complex. We are still evolving. Americans look different from their ancestors who landed on the shores of New England, those folks look different from their European ancestors of 700 years ago, and those folks look different from their ancestors living not very differently from the aboriginal peoples of America.

Evolution means simply change over a long period of time. To deny evolution is to deny the very instrument of God. I read a book called Einstein's Universe. I thought that Albert Einstein would be so elliptical and difficult to read, but what I discovered was a man of faith. And don't confuse this with religion, because though Einstein was raised as a Jew, he had very little feeling for religion. One of the things he said though was that science can only answer so many questions and then you have to say "What next?". He said that that after you get to the Big Bang as you work your way back through time to the very moment, you have to ask, "What next?" He described the Creator as the Priam Mobile, the prime mover. He said that someone had to touch off the spark, the act that caused the big bang. He said that religion without science is ignorance, and science without God was folly.

As a Christian and a witch, I have begun to observe the earth and the planets and the moon. I have begun to observe the seasons, and the tides and the way things grow. I have begun to ask the question of how to leave a smaller footprint on the earth and make the earth a better place. Because though Fundamentalists dispute the notion of evolution, they ignore the sacred duty God gave them to care for the earth. They say God called the earth into existence by the mere sound of his voice but then they ignore the fact that the earth is burning up and being consumed and her inhabitants are being destroyed.

If you believe that God was a part of an evolutionary design or if you believe that the Lord created earth in a day, then you must believe that you owe a duty to the earth. After all, he commanded that we care for his garden and its inhabitants. Or are you doing what you accuse us of, picking out what we want to believe about the Bible and making the rest over to suit our needs.