One of the great mysteries of the Universe for me, since my earliest excursions into abstract thought, has been why humankind exists on this earth. My puzzlement arises from the fact that everything in nature was perfectly balanced, in beautiful harmony, up to the moment that the first human emerged. Sure, animals eat one another, but you don’t find monkeys mining and processing natural resources or dolphins building submarine cities. They don’t wilfully destroy their habitat for personal gain.
Mankind probably didn’t make much impact – negative or positive – in the first stages of his existence. It was when we started fiddling about inventing bronze and iron, domesticating animals and establishing settled farmsteads instead of sticking to hunting and gathering, and fighting tribal battles over territories, that we began to disturb the delicate balance of our environment.
Old Testament Bible stories and myths from around the world tell of natural disasters that wiped out a large portion of humanity. Unfortunately for the planet, Noah and his family (or their counterparts) managed to survive and re-populate the earth. Since that time, we have left a trail of destruction wherever we have set foot.
That is a horrifying fact. Personally, as a Christian, I believe that everything was somehow brought into being by God. The issue of whether we are the result of evolution, intelligent design or God just snapping his fingers and saying “Hey presto!” is irrelevant here. I believe there is an intelligence and purpose behind this creation, and hence of necessity a Creator. I have my reasons for my faith, and that is not in dispute here.
However, nobody so far has been able to give me a satisfactory answer to the question of why God didn’t stop at lunchtime on the sixth day after creating the animals. But no – Genesis 1:24 – 31 tells us that he went on to create mankind “in his own image” and put these men and women in charge of everything. And, according to Genesis 1:29, all living creatures at that time were vegetarian, so green rather than red in tooth and claw, which is another topic worth thinking about.
The scene was set and Man suddenly appeared. Don’t now try to fob me off with the tale of the Fall and free will. That is all beside the point. An omniscient, omnipotent God outside of time and space and whatever other dimensions may exist in the universe or multiverse knew perfectly well what was going to happen. Here he had created a beautiful planet, filled with all kinds of wonderful things, able to exist only by virtue of the incredibly finely tuned balance of its ecosystem, and what does he do but chuck a spanner in the works. Man. Created in God’s own image?
If we look at man as a reflection of the deity, that is, if we reverse the process and create a god in Man’s image, I can understand why there are atheists.
Back to Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve. Some people believe this literally, others take it as an allegory. In any case, Adam and Eve were certainly flawed – gullible, greedy, disobedient and cowardly. Is that the image of God?
The New Testament tells us that Jesus, the perfect Man, was “the second Adam”. Does that mean that the first Adam was a sort of imperfect prototype? Was God nodding off after a week of hectic activity, resulting in a “Friday afternoon product”? Answers on a postcard, please!