God’s Very Good Creation

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I’m recovering from a viral condition that’s affecting people in these parts. It’s set me thinking about how many diseases and conditions humans are susceptible to. An online search suggests the figure is unquantifiable. There are, for example, over 5,000 viruses known to affect human health, including the 200 that cause various versions of the so-called common cold. Of these 5000, we understand only a few hundred. There are also some 6,000 diseases caused by single-gene defects, and even more by other genetic disorders. In case that’s not enough, there are also hundreds of infectious diseases caused by bacteria, fungi and parasites. While some of these cause only minor discomfort, it remains the case that almost every one of us will die, or has already died, from one or other of these diseases, conditions or illnesses.

How does Christianity account for all of these horrors? Here’s the cerebrally challenged Ken Ham to explain:

We need to start with the fact that God created everything perfect, and this perfect creation was then marred by sin. This is the only way the gospel makes sense. You need the foundation of the history in Genesis in order to fully understand the gospel!

Yup, God made everything perfect and a pair of mythical humans messed it up by ‘sinning’. Everything that’s bad about the world is the result of Adam and Eve’s one-off disobedience. That single act opened the floodgates not only to all of the illnesses to which we and the animal kingdom are prone, but also to natural disasters and the brutality we inflict on one another.

But don’t worry, God has a cunning plan! Ken wants us to teach our children about it:

Teach them about God’s original “very good” creation. Instruct them that mankind’s sin broke God’s creation and brought death and suffering into it. Teach them that we needed someone to pay the penalty for our sin, and that’s why Jesus stepped into history… and now offers the free gift of eternal life to all who will put their faith and trust in him.

You see, as Ken likes to say, only this explanation makes sense of our susceptibility to disease and illness. Only this explanation makes sense of the gospel too; the good news that Jesus sacrificial death will put everything right.

                   Eventually.

                            No rush.

                                   Whenever…

It also demonstrates what a complete and utter bastard the biblical God is, that he condemns his ‘very good’ creation to a disease ridden, disaster stricken existence, simply because he himself made the first humans as fallible as he did.

But no. Neither this explanation nor its concommitant ‘gospel’ makes any sense, whichever perspective you look at them from. The development of innumerable diseases, and the viruses, bacteria, parasites and genetic conditions that cause them, are clear evidence of evolution; of an unsupervised arms-race in which the best-adapted invader or host survives to reproduce/replicate. Having then had the chance to transmit their DNA/chemical data, their purpose is served. They die. They stay dead.

The men who created Genesis 1 & 2 did not know about evolution, microbes or viruses. They did, however, see the deficiencies of the world in which they lived, the struggle for existence, illness and death, and found these impossible to square with the benign creator God they imagined existed. And so were formed the Genesis myths of a perfect creation spoilt by the only agent whom these men believed capable of causing such havoc; they themselves. There is no denying their accounts have been remarkably influential, and also completely wrong.

No gospel is needed to put right a fallen creation. It isn’t fallen, it is what we should expect if life evolved; if each species, organism and virus that exists today has spent millions of years constantly adapting in order to survive. Jesus’ supposed sacrifice has no bearing on any of this; it is superfluous, unnecessary and entirely irrelevant. The salvation myth is a virus in its own right, existing, like the meme it is, merely to perpetuate itself.

Jesus can’t save you from the common cold, let alone death.

Idiotic stuff Jesus said 2: You need never have another bad hair day

ThePlanDon’tcha just love him?

Jesus says that whatever else happens, Christians will never, ever have a bad hair day. They may have limbs lopped from their bodies and they may be crucified just as he was, but – blessed assurance! – not a single hair on their heads will come to harm. Isn’t that fabulous?

Here’s how he puts it:

…they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name… You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls. (Luke 21.12, 16-18)

Of course, this particular part of Jesus’ script was written long after he died (wasn’t it all) when there was some mild persecution of Christians under the emperor Nero. Jesus’ promise was designed to be of comfort to those in trouble because of their faith. It turns out to be cold comfort, however, and a blatant lie. Jesus’ own brother and leader of the church in Jerusalem, James was tortured and executed round about 62CE, as were several of the disciples and the self-appointed apostle, Paul (circa 64CE). And we can be fairly certain that whatever hair they had on their heads ‘perished’ when they did.

Perhaps Jesus suffered from male pattern baldness, which might explain his fixation with hair, because as well as promising that not a single hair on believers’ heads would perish, he’s made to declare, equally improbably, in Matthew 10.30 that all the hairs on the disciples’ heads are numbered.

God really does have too much time on his hands. You’d have thought he could use it to prevent the deaths of the 25,000 African children who die each day because of malnutrition and the innumerable diseases he’s seen fit to create. But no. He counts hairs instead.

Consequently and predictably, Christians have tied themselves in tangled knots trying to explain Jesus’ bizarre claim that not a single, numbered hair would be lost. What he meant, some of them tell us, is that the souls of persecuted believers will be unharmed, safe in God’s care, whatever they endure. But hair, it has to be said, is an unlikely metaphor for the soul, and isn’t one that the gospel writers or other New Testament authors use anywhere else.

So maybe, Christians argue, because hair is a part of the physical body, Jesus means it to stand for the whole body, and yes, this might be put to death, but it will live again as a resurrected super-body. God will then reinstate even the hair of those who have died for Jesus’ sake. Which means there are going to be a lot of hirsute people in the Kingdom when all the hair they’ve ever possessed is returned, post-mortem, to their heads. This is what Jesus promises.

Paul, though, says in 1 Corinthians 11.14 that long hair degrades a man, while Augustine argues that, come the resurrection, any excess hair will be incorporated somewhere in the body (extra pubes maybe?). Perhaps, though, God doesn’t intend acting as divine hair-restorer at all, but plans to keep all the hair ever lost, alive and vibrant, in a special heavenly hair-museum.

Or maybe Jesus’ guarantee that even Christians’ hair will be saved is, like the rest of his promises, nothing more than total and utter BS.