Creation or Evolution? The Kaleidoscope.

OK. Here it is in as short a manner as I can manage: the Truth behind the whole silly argument. Well, it?s actually only my opinion, but it reflects both the hard science in my engineering brain as well as the Godly love that I feel in my heart. As I see this fight playing out on the nightly news, I lean back and wonder what the fuss is all about. What if everyone is right?

Start with a kaleidoscope. You played with it as a child; it was a single cardboard tube with a mirrored insert, plus assorted plastic beads and colored glass bits that produced complex patterns as you rotated the tube and looked through one end of it. As you kept on rotating the tube up to the light you delighted in the unique, non-repeating patterns that you observed.

Now think of the Universe as God’s kaleidoscope. He puts in a ton of hydrogen and free energy and starts rotating the tube. Fusion ensues in the hydrogen eddies pooling in some gravimetric nooks and crannies of space and starts producing the heavier elements and eventual carbon that coalesces into the known worlds and you and me. The amino acid laden primordial soup that created life was but a stage in this turning of the tube. The background radiation that resulted from all the burning plasma in the Universe and which jump-starts the initial combinatorial changes in the chromosomal pool is just another bit of plastic and glass that resided in the tube.

And the continuing evolution of Earthly life in its many forms is just a pleasing pattern of Creation that was started so long ago.

Did God create the tube? Definitely. Can you explain where all the matter and the initial energetic deposit came from, otherwise? And it was a pretty large deposit, too. Does God know that we were coming when the kaleidoscope was put together and started turning? Definitely; that?s one disadvantage of omniscience, you can never be surprised by the Future.

So what is the point of this exercise, this eons-long turning of a cardboard tube? It is pleasing to God and He derives the greatest measure of satisfaction from it (I also enjoy watching crystals grow, but I certainly don?t have the patience for a longer endeavour). But unlike a child watching the ants crawling around in the Ant Farm?, the Creator interacts with His Creation and knows the name of His creatures. We are not pets, but part of the Creator?s family and given part of the family inheritance. Does this violate the Star Trek non-interference rule? I don?t know that God would limit himself to the laws of nature and physics that He himself created. He decided in which direction Time?s Arrow would point, and He can change the infinitesimal characteristics of the tube?s contents when He desires.

So to answer the burning question: Creation or Evolution? I can say ?both.? One does not deny the other. We can acknowledge the mechanism and the Creator of the mechanism. To those that propose the randomness of the process I can only say: It?s random because our small minds cannot grasp the larger pattern. If we had a fast enough computer and limitless storage memory, we could predict tomorrow?s weather. God?s memory is large enough to hold and to view and influence the eventual fate of His Creation.

15 thoughts on “Creation or Evolution? The Kaleidoscope.”

  1. You bring up some very interesting points while maintaining an opinion-rather-than-fact viewpoint. Which is commendable in today’s world of “I’m right and you’re wrong” attitudes.

    I personally have stopped believing in God around the same time I was notified about the Santa lie. The similarites are so close they are scary. (Be good and get rewarded/be bad and be punished.) I think this is a very good chaos-control system and will make no step towards stopping it.

    I don’t mean to start a debate as most people don’t share my viewpoint anyway… (including my wife).

    One thing though, is that I hold to my beliefs 100%. No half-assing it.

    Nothing bothers me more than followers who CHOOSE what they LIKE about their religion yet still call themselves full-fledged followers.
    I know two religious-types at work who call themselves Catholic yet both have children out of wedlock with no plans on marrying their live-in lovers.

    Basically, I have no problems with what anyone’s beliefs are, but if you want to be in a certian “club” them you should be following the club’s rules.

  2. Well, just wait a little while. My piece on Santa Claus is coming in a couple of days. Really.

    As for the “club” I can say that there are lots of people ‘talking the talk’ but not too many ‘walking the walk.’ The latter is much harder to do. But I’m not perfect either and I make as many mistakes as the people you described. The point is at least to try. If they are parenting to the best of their abilities, I’ll give them a pass; they are doing the best they can after making mistakes in the past. However, if they continue to flaunt the “rules” because they don’t think they’re important, then there’s a problem.

    The point is to change your life, and if you see proof of that, then there is a good chance that they have joined the “club.” I personally don’t want to join any clubs and prefer to accept a personal relationship with Jesus. It places me in a certain club right now, but that’s totally changeable and unnecessary. I would still be the same person if I had to live the rest of my life on a deserted island. Hope this extra viewpoint helps out on your quest.

  3. Since this is an oft-touchy subject, I’d like to say that my intended tone is calm and friendly, and not at all judgemental (or even defensive).

    Zbalance, I could be off-base on this, and probably am, but I would imagine that it might be easier for you to follow your beliefs because you created them. I think you mean you have values that you strive to keep, and I am sure that you are more disciplined than most in upholding those values. But these are values that fit you personally. In essense, you chose these beliefs based on your own experience and observations. Unless you are a strict follower of a religion or belief system that someone else created.

    Within Christianity, there are many interpretations of the scripture. This makes sense, as it was spoken in Aramaic and Hebrew, written in Hebrew, translated to Greek, Latin, then English. It provides some room for differences of opinion. Another point is that it was originally written for members of a particular society that valued men more than women, accepted slavery as commonplace, and had other norms modern Americans would consider quite abnormal (but other cultures in the world might not).

    As a result, many of us (myself included), have a set of beliefs that is inclusive of much of Christianity, but does not literally follow all the rules written in the Bible, or those created by a particular sect. However, I was raised as an Episcopalian and often describe myself as one, because I do share the beliefs of that church, even if I don’t attend services. In addition, I admit I am a sinner and there are many rules I think I should be following, but don’t have the will power to do so. I ain’t perfect, not by a long shot. Therefore, I try not to preach to others, but simply give my opinion when asked or in an open forum, such as this one.

    You might see this as choosing what I like. However, I try to keep in everything that I think is “right”, not just what I capable of following. This leaves a fair amount on my “naughty list”; all I can do is strive to keep that as short as possible, but I know it won’t ever be empty.

    I am curious about your coworkers. You describe them as religious, so I assume this means preachy. Do they admit they are breaking the rules of their church? I must say that Catholicism is a very tough religion to follow, and has a lot of rules and rituals/tradtions that were created to help them be friendlier to followers of other religions, such as paganism. This is why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th (bring some sobriety to the debachery of the Saturnalia, a 5-day end of year party not unlike today’s Mardi Gras), and why trees are involved, and eggs and bunnies (pagan symbols of fertility) are a part of Easter. The papal decree to eat fish on Fridays was to help an ailing fishing industry – hundreds of years ago. They are essentially fun traditions intended to help spread the religion across other cultures, but do get away from the heart of the matter, and aren’t very relevant today. Therefore, I try to cut the Catholics some slack. And they’re easy sells for the Episcopal church, with its similar traditions services, but lower guilt and fewer rules 🙂

  4. Since you asked, one friend in particular, isn’t so much a preacher-type but is very open about his views. Brags about going to church meetings and such.
    The evolution arguement is the hottest one of all. As more scientific evidence is brought forward, old-school religion tends to bend their beliefs to somehow encorporate these new findings rather than embrace a different idea.
    I personally don’t like these topics, as it generally gets someone angry (usually me).
    My “beliefs” as you call them are what I call common-sense. Just the term: belief – seems to suggest a delusional view. Like I BELIEVE the sky is blue. No. I KNOW it is.
    Ok. OK. I guess I can fit the word in if I think about it. I BELIEVE that all Godly religion was founded as a way to control the nieve into behaving. (Again, just like Santa!) And it works so well, that I find myself very comfortable around people of a Christian faith because the punishment and morality system is so well defined.
    I feel that following a God-ideal is the EASIER choice despite what your brain might tell you because the alternative is bleak. (No loving God, no heaven to look forward to)
    Now I’m gonna cry.

    In short, I find that believing in God is no different than believing the Earth was flat (500 years ago), or believing the Sun is being dragged across the sky by a chariot (1000 years ago). Both of these things seemed pretty logical AT THE TIME but have since been thrown out in the face of logic and science. I dread the day 1000 years from now when most religion has completely died out and people of the future laugh at 21 century man for our beliefs. I want to shout out to them. “Not me. I wasn’t like that!”
    Now don’t get me wrong, I usually don’t try to change someones view. It gets particularly complicated when you consider I have kids. They go to a Christian school/church as per my wife’s wishes. I grew up going to Sunday school, so I like the values that are taught and will never force my children towards my viewpoint. But at the same time I am fully aware of the brainwashing that I am willingly sending them to. Don’t agree? Do you think you would have found your way to Christianity if you were born in Asia and taught about Buddism since birth? I doubt it. We were forced into what beliefs our parents shared and thats that.
    An interesting experiment would be to teach a child a different religion every month, rotating through all the major ones (including a month of straight science) until the age of 18. I would like to see what this person thinks after equal time following so many viewpoints.

    I rarely talk about religion because it never leads to good.
    On the one side, I tend to give the impression that all followers of God are weak minded drones.

    So people hate me.

    On the other side, I am viewed as an ungodly, unholy, evil bastard with no hope of salvation.

    So I hate people.

    To finish on an amusing note…
    We have many faiths in our neighborhood. Like the hardcore Jewish folk who feel their God would be horribly unhappy if they didn’t grow long sideburn/locks around their ears and wear capes and hats and such. Because God cares about fashion most of all. Didn’t you know?
    Also we are visited by Jahovahs Witnesses every few weeks.
    Now these people impress me. I am never rude to them and love reading the magazines they share. If I have any respect for religion at all, it’s for these folk. They follow the Bible to the WORD. No half-assing it, like I mentioned earlier. They don’t worship in fancy churches because the Bible doesn’t say to. They don’t celibrate Christmas or Birthdays because the Bible doesn’t say to. They DO however, go door-to-door because the Bible says to spread the word. It takes balls to knock on strangers doors these days, but if the Bible tells them they should… they got my respect.

  5. Great thread guys. And we’re keeping it so civilized; it’s unnatural. We should be going after each other with pitchforks and torches and burning the heretics on the stake.

    Seriously, I have to add my 2-cents about religion and the Truth (capitalized on purpose). You are correct, most people follow the religion of their parents. Some choose not to follow any religion, and that’s OK too. But I maintain that non-religion is also a religion. We are unfortunately wired to BELIEVE in something. If we eschew the main beliefs, we create our own, whether consciously or unconsciously. Perhaps its part of our need to BELONG which I think is also hard-wired in our brains. Even the hermit that has retired from society does so in order to get closer to SOMETHING, to belong to that unique (yet small) group.

    As for Christianity, I also believe that most of us (well, I’ll be honest, not me) have a sunday school level of understanding of our relationship to God. You were right on the ball with the Santa Claus analogy; if I don’t get what I want, God hates me. I’m prideful enough to admit that I think I have the high-school version of Christianity; I question WHY and have yet to find an answer. I’m trying to get to the University professor level of Christianity: I know the Truth and want to pass it to my students, because I have tenure and you can’t touch me.

  6. Zbalance, I humbly point out that you were the first to say you held “beliefs”. I was merely following your lead. And yes, the word does connotate faith, or presumption, a conclusion based on the facts you know. It works both ways, therefore it’s used extensively in both the worlds of science and religion. The Big Bang – many believe in that theory (I lean towards it myself), but it remains a theory instead of a law because we don’t have the means to prove it. Just as we don’t have the means to prove – or disprove – the existence of God. It is all belief based on “fact”. Because of the nature of God, no fact can ever disprove His existence.

    I will take it one step further and say that we we often call facts are actually observations, and/or the conclusions we come to based on these observations. We call them facts becase it greatly eases communication; most of us are in agreement on them. It’s only when we disagree we start to question other’s observations. Or our own. Not all scientists believe in the Big Bang theory. Not all Christians believe in Creationism. The same goes for miracles; there have been many miracles observed throughout time. Many cannot be explained by science. But this does not stop some from having *faith* that science will eventually explain all things. Due to my experiences and observations, I do not believe that science will answer all. But I can understand how others would make that leap of faith, just as I am making one.

    For the record, I believe in evolution. I was taught by my priest that it didn’t really matter how you believe the universe was created, the important part is that you credit God. And that I do, while also agreeing with the conclusions scientists have made based on their observations of fossils.

  7. You got me on the “belief” quote but I wasn’t trying to say it was faulty to use the term. I just hate the sound of it.

    I appreciate everyone being able to talk civilized about such a subject when most of the world would be at war by now.
    Especially when there is no way of proving who’s viewpoint is the most accurate until the end.

    If however I am proven wrong,
    and the gates to heaven are closed to me,
    be aware that if you guys shout “I told you so.”
    I will be giving you the finger on the way down.

    This sounds like song lyrics.
    If I could only make it rhyme.

  8. I’m glad to read a lot of the views here, especially the idea of a hybrid of both faith and science. I hesitated to use religion out of habit, but I think faith is more accurate.

    Religion really does feel like a club and to me, it seems too culturally-defined to ever be universal. I think there are universal themes, beliefs, and morals within every religion that all cultures and walks-of-life may consent to. But for me, the sheer fact that we actually have a selection of religions to choose from (and that this day in age, it is much easier to change faiths) only says that they can all be, both, correct and incorrect.

    Religion is correct because they DO have a universal concept in mind: Someone or something created the world we live in. At least I believe that. It’s too fantastic a place to be the result of pure evolution. There had to have been a starting point after there was nothing. It’s easy, in perspective, for science to figure out the language in which the universe evolves but it is left in the hands of faith to explain how it began.

    Religion is incorrect because it is easily clouded by culture and law. What should be higher in the scope of life becomes victim to the changing of times. PC movements, changes in law, social adaptations… all effect how we subscribe and follow religion. For something that should be dangling us all by strings, it’s too easily shook up by what’s hanging from it.

    To add to ZBalance’s thoughts, how about the Christian who converts to Judaism to save the marriage and please the fiance’s faith and family? One person leaves a faith to take on another simply for the love of an individual (And it’s not God). But on the other end, the Jews are gaining a new recruit, so to speak, and possibly conflicting their own beliefs. Taking in an impure individual and cleansing him so he may be born again. The sanctity of an entire religion is bent on the hierarchy of love.

    Love and Hate may be the only two real things that we can all believe in.

  9. Yeah, you’ve hit the toughest of spots for me: conversion out of Christianity. Although I’m cool with non-believers (you’ve renounced all beliefs) I still get tough on people who convert out of Christianity. Perhaps because the rejection is so overt and it is documented, as opposed to those that just let their faith fade away with time. I recall the story about a young woman that converted to Judaism; there was a spot in the ceremony when she was asked to renounce Jesus and his teachings (this is perfectly valid, as an Orthodox Jew you must renounce heretics like Jesus). The woman remained silent and the rabbi mercifully and awkwardly moved forward with the ceremony.
    In that case, I’m with the Messianic Jewish people. They are Jews but believe that Jesus was the Messiah. So their faith and Christianity is in alignment. “Conversion” is just a matter of which holidays you observe.
    I’m pretty harsh on Elizabeth Taylor. She converted to Judaism because she liked their religious celebrations better than the Christian ones. This seems to me to be very superficial. I personally would still be a Christian even in you removed the great holidays, say Christmas. The trappings of “Religion” have nothing to do with your faith. If you’re in it for the social benefits, I support Zbalance’s stance and stay away from the whole mess. But if you’re looking for answers to the BIG questions “Why am I here” and “Why is there suffering” and “Am I loved” then God is your answer.
    As to the other question, in my opinion mixed-belief marriages can be dangerous. I’ve seen many of them succeed, but only because one party subsumes their beliefs for the other person’s sake. And when the kids arrive, it gets really hard. I’m very shallow and would not marry a smoker, no matter how nice and attractive the other person was, so you see where my equation results in an inequality. In my view (for another post) Love can be found in millions of perfectly compatible mates. All of them have the potential to be your ‘soul mate’ as long as you put the time into the relationship. So pick one that shares your religious views; it’s so much easier and reduces the pain.

  10. When you mentioned the Messianic Jews, I recall the time I was out with Beth (who was getting more and more into Judaism) when we saw a group of “Jews for Jesus”. She was completely indignant about it, and said, “You know what we call those people? Christians!” I had never heard the word Christian used so disdainfully. In retrospect, it was quite comical, as she was really quite insecure.

  11. I must say, the Hebrew celebrations are the best. You cannot compare a good Jewish wedding to a Christian one. * I * really want to ride around in a chair hoisted by all of my friends, and try to touch my new wife on her chair; that’s excitement!!! And Easter dinner in America is one of the most boring celebrations around. Finding Easter Eggs is too pagan for me. But my daughter comments: “Hey, it’s fun! What about the Easter Bunny, Huh?????? HUH!?!?!?!? LOL. Well, I think it’s a nice tradition to have….sorta. Hey, it’s fun for the little kids! And, it’s ALL ABOUT THEM. THEM HAVING FUN. RIGHT? *WINK* *WINK*”

  12. Ahem. Christmas. Cough cough.
    Oops, did that slip out?

    Easter is about the basket, man.
    Thanks to my wife, even I get a basket on Easter. Don’t you?

    And let’s face it, although I believe the Jewish holiday came first, Hannikuh (I’m not even going to look that spelling up) and Kwanzaa wouldn’t even be on the map if they didn’t occur near Christmas.
    Leach holiday’s.
    Ask the common American to name any other Jewish or African holiday and the month that they occur.

  13. Well, you’ve got me there. We started doing Easter baskets right about the time my first child was born. And then you cannot stop. It is a very strong “holiday” meme. I used to disdain Christmas trees and Christmas lights, but after I got married I was first forced to buy, then eventually came to love the silly things.

    I think the best kind of faith would be that experienced by a castaway on a deserted island, with no hope of rescue. No distractions, no adulteration, just pure faith. But then you’d also go insane…..The Bible says you should surround yourself with good, like-minded Christians, probably because the flesh is weak. But there can also occur great relationships between friends, that just happen to both be Christians…

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