Parashah Beresheet (In the Beginning) Genesis 1:1 – 6:8

Chag Simchat Torah!!  This is the holiday where we turn back the Torah, from the end of Deuteronomy to the beginning of everything: Genesis. Simchat Torah means “Joy of Torah”, and we certainly do receive joy from reading the Word of God!

This parashah takes us from creation of the universe and everything in it to just before the story of Noah. God created the universe, Earth, sky, ground, set boundaries for the oceans, created life in the seas, on the land and finally created us. That’s when things started going downhill.

All through the early stages of creation we read how “God saw that it was good”, and it was. I mean, REALLY good! And when Adam and Eve got here, things were still OK, Then the enemy got involved. He lured Eve into sin, and she lured Adam into sin, and ….well, you know the rest of the story.

But was it all the fault of the enemy? Did Satan do anything that forced Eve to eat the apple? Did Eve ram it down Adam’s throat? Did she threaten him with, “Eat this apple or you will be sleeping on the couch (that is, if we had a couch)”?

No, Satan didn’t force Eve, Eve didn’t force Adam, and even to this day no one forces us to sin. We’ve always had a choice, and we still do. The problem isn’t that we don’t have a choice, the problem is that it is just so much easier to sin. It is what the world teaches us to do, it is what we instinctively desire, and it generally yields immediate satisfaction. Whereas righteousness is hard to do- we have to overcome our sinful desires (iniquity), we have to deal with other people harassing us (because they don’t want to see righteousness in their presence- it convicts them), and we have to delay the rewards of righteousness until a future time. Righteousness usually doesn’t have immediate gratification, other than we know, in our hearts, that we are doing the right thing.

Let’s tackle what is probably the biggest issue that comes from Genesis- creationism vs. evolution.

Way back when, sometime around July of 1925, a substitute teacher in Tennessee named John Scopes taught human evolution. This was a violation of the Tennessee Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in a state-funded school. Scopes was found guilty, fined $100, but that was later overturned on a technicality. The funny thing about this is that today, according to Wikipedia:

In the United States, the Supreme Court has ruled the teaching of creationism as science in public schools to be unconstitutional, irrespective of how it may be purveyed in theological or religious instruction. In the United States, intelligent design (ID) has been represented as an alternative explanation to evolution in recent decades, but its “demonstrably religious, cultural, and legal missions” have been ruled unconstitutional by a lower court.

So what was illegal to teach in 1925 is now the only legal thing to teach! Oy!

Even within Judaism, some of the greatest Jewish scholars and Torah teachers knew that the Genesis story was not to be taken literally. Rashi, known to be one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) Jewish commentator of all times, taught that the purpose of Scripture was not to give a strict chronology of Creation. Also, Maimonides (the RamBam) declared, ” The account given in Scripture of the Creation is not, as is generally believed, intended to be in all its parts literal.” The remarkable truth is that Judaism does not contest the evolution of species. Where the disagreement lies is with what drives evolution. The atheistic scientific community states that evolution is caused by random mutations,  where those mutations which proved more adaptable to the environment succeeded and the less adaptable mutations died out. Charles Darwin put forth this idea as the survival of the fittest.  Judaism (along with most Judeo-Christian and Muslim religions) does not accept that the advancement of species from lower order to higher order came from chance, but from Divine control. We call this Intelligent Design. The truth is, the answer to whether we were created or we evolved is, as it always has been: Does God exist?

If God exists, then we have intelligent design, and if there is no God, then it all happened by chance.

I can understand the depression and uselessness that people who reject God feel in their daily lives; after all, if everything you wanted to be or wanted to achieve was totally out of your control (because without God there is no control), then what hope do you have? Only the hope that some random collision of quarks in a sub-atomic environment will result, somehow, in circumstances and events which will benefit you. Not very promising, is it? Especially when compared to having a supreme being, who is loving, compassionate, all-powerful, knowing everything that there is and everything that will ever be, on your side helping you to attain those things you want.

I mean, really- there’s no comparison. But yet, millions (if not billions) of people who have heard about God will still reject Him and choose to live their lives with no hope, no control, and no future (because without God, there is no future beyond this life. Again, a very depressing and hopeless existence.)

I wrote about how there is no control without God in this blog: Without God There Cannot be Free Will.

Genesis tells us how everything in the universe started, and whether you accept God created it or believe it randomly occurred, life has always been what we make of it. We always have a choice to do, say, and act the way we want to. And what we choose to believe will define who and what we are.

For me, I choose to believe in God; I choose to believe that He created the entire universe for me and provided everything I need to survive; I choose to believe that God also provided a spiritual means for me to live eternally despite my own fatal flaw of iniquity ( yes, I am talking about Yeshua/Jesus); and I choose to believe that because God exists and because I accepted Yeshua as my Messiah, I have a future beyond this mortal existence.

Those without God have no future: they only have this life, and will have to spend it in this world without control, without hope, and without the complete joy that comes from God’s Holy Spirit indwelling in us.

And that is just so sad.

Science is the antithesis of faith

What is faith?

When I want to know the meaning of something that matters to me, on both an eternal and spiritual level, rather than what Mr. Webster or Wikipedia may think, I like to go to the Manual (my ‘manual’ is the bible because I think it is the best User’s Manual ever created.)

So, to find the meaning of “faith”, the place I go to is Hebrews 11, verse 1:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

In other words, faith is believing absolutely in what has not been proven.

In science, things work a little differently; we start with an observation of an event, form a theory about why it happens, test our theory in a laboratory, and when we can manually recreate the event by doing what we theorized would cause that event, then the theory is considered scientific fact.

In other words, in science it is not considered to be true until such time as you can, in a controlled environment, create the event at will.

Therefore, since faith is believing in what we haven’t seen, and science doesn’t believe in anything it can’t see, you can “see” why I say they are the antithesis of each other.

If anyone wants to dispute the above by saying no one has seen quarks, or sub-atomic particles, or a  Worm Hole, yet science accepts their existence, that’s because their existence is accepted based upon the visible effect they have on their immediate environment; whereas they are not visible, they can still be “seen” through their effect on what is visible.

What is interesting is that although science cannot accept the existence of God as fact, a form of science (archaeology) is providing, on a constant basis, evidence that the bible is historically accurate and verifiable. Archaeological findings have constantly demonstrated the biblical stories we hear of are true, therefore it is reasonable to accept that if the historical accounts are true, then the reasons given for their occurrence might be accurate, as well.

In other words, if the eye-witnessed description of an event happened as described, then the reason given why or how it happened should be just as believable.

The problem is this: God will never provide absolute, irrefutable evidence of His existence until it is all over. Why? Because salvation comes from faith, not from a test tube. Scientific “proof” of God’s existence works against faith, because faith is believing in what can’t been seen and science only believes in what can be seen. If we can “see” God, if we can “prove” His existence absolutely, then faith is not needed.

For me, faith is stronger than fact. After all, how many “facts” over the millennia have proven to be wrong? The earth isn’t flat, the moon isn’t made of cheese, cigarettes are not good for you, and because it is on the Internet it doesn’t have to be true.

I love science, I love knowing how things work and being able to make things happen. Even just adding alkaline powder to my hot tub to watch the water color change from an acidic yellowish to clear blue is really cool, but science is not my religion. Unfortunately, it has become a religion to many people. They use scientific theory as fact (evolution is the best example) and work under the system where if something isn’t palpable and repeatable then it isn’t real. God is real, all right, and can be palpable (if He chooses to be so), but we can’t make that happen. That’s totally up to Him, so to those who believe only what they can make happen, God is an unknown.

I wish I could find this book: I was once told Og Mandino compiled a book of essays by famous scientists, of all areas in science, that found the more they understood how things worked, the more they realized there had to be an intelligence that made it all happen. That is how science can become faithful, by understanding enough to realize that this all isn’t just an accident. There may be some level of happenstance, such as how quarks move at the sub-atomic level, but life didn’t happen by some quirk: God created everything. He designed it, He changed it, He let some die out and He let some survive. The DNA molecule is the very backbone of creation, yet it is made up of only 5 chemicals, and how they are combined in different chains of different sequences is what makes a snail a snail and a human being a human being (even though some human beings I have known are as slow as a snail.)  Therefore, it only makes sense that when you have that strong a foundation to build from, you would find similarity in everything that exists based on that foundation. What I am saying is that just because the chimpanzee genome is nearly 99% the same as a human genome, it doesn’t mean we came from apes. The only conclusion science can accurately state is that humans and apes are closely related biological entities, but there is nothing to prove that chimps evolved into humans.

If you are confused about God and want some “sign” of His existence, keep asking for it in prayer, but also remember what Yeshua (Jesus) said about those that asked for a sign:

Matthew 12:39– “He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign!””

Even so, Yeshua told them a sign would be given, which (even to this day) millions upon millions have rejected. So, ask and if God wills it to be done, you will receive a sign. The onus is on you to look for it and to accept it when you see it.

There are signs of God’s existence everywhere;  we only need to accept them for what they are to substantiate our faith.

Evolution and sugar-free cookies

Yes, I am about to tackle one of the most feared topics in the Western World: C vs. E: the age-old argument whether we were created or whether we were an accidental mix-up within the DNA structure that worked out to be better than before.

Personally, I am for Creative Design, and that is why I mentioned sugar-free cookies.

When someone first ate a cookie baked with a sugar substitute, did that person say the cookie evolved?

I don’t think so.

What they would say is that the baker had created a new kind of cookie. Now, the argument here is that cookies are not living things, so don’t qualify to be discussed within the topic of evolution, and… I agree. So let’s talk about living things- how about dogs?

There are so many, many different breeds of dog, yet they are all dogs, right? So, do all these different breeds represent evolution of the species?  I say no- and I say no because people have purposefully cross-bred dogs (Frankenstein’d them.)  I think even a staunch evolutionist would have to agree that the pug was designed to have that flat face. The breeds we have designed  were created (like how I fit that in there?)  with the intent of them having the features they have. We have even created a liger (an abomination created by mankind that is a hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger); certainly we can’t call that “evolution!”

Can we agree evolution is (usually?) considered something that happens by chance, and creation is something that is determined before-hand? If that is acceptable, then we have known occurrences of creationism (dog and cat breeds, ligers, all the different types of flora that are created by cross-pollination) but we only make the assumption of evolution, as stated within that theory.

That’s right- evolution is still a theory. It may be taught and thought to be a fact, but there is no scientific proof- it is assumed. Science battles between the deductive and inductive thinking practices: if we start with a theory about why something exists and try to prove it through observation, that is deductive reasoning. When we observe something and try to figure out what makes it happen, that is inductive reasoning. Science works with both of these reasoning practices. We see different events (such as as a number of different species) and try to induce why there is such a difference. That leads to a theory of why the differences exist, and then we attempt to prove that theory to be valid through being able to recreate that same event in a controlled environment, such as a lab. Consequently, science never really proves anything until the event that is observed can be explained, and that explanation is proven valid by recreating the specific event on demand.

Example: we see things plummet to the ground when we let go of them from a height. We deduce there is a force that pulls these items down, and form the theory of gravity. We then take different items of differing weights and sizes, and from different heights we let them go. They all drop to the ground.

Inductive Process: we observe that things fall, we form a theory why that happens and call it “Gravity.”

Deductive Process: the theory of gravity says anything dropped will fall and we test our theory by dropping things and observe that everything we drop falls.

Ergo- the theory of gravity is now scientifically proven to be a fact.

As far as evolution is concerned, we have observed the different species of life, we have formulated a theory that genetic adaptations (mutations) have occurred which resulted in a specie having a greater ability to survive within it’s given environment. We also must assume that this genetic aberration has happened enough times within that specie, living within that habitat, so that a male and female with the same aberration have been able to find each other, breed and that this specific genetic aberration within both of them is inheritable.

So far, at least as far as I have heard about or read about, this event has not been reenacted within a controlled environment.

What we have been able to do is perform this action through recombinant DNA and cross breeding. That is not evolution, but it is (by definition) creationism.

C’mon… why don’t we call it what it really is- intelligent design.

When it comes down to it, we can not scientifically prove different species exist because of evolution, but we have proven different species can exist through intelligent design.

Is Your Head in the Sand?

There’s the old wives tale that an ostrich is so dumb when it sees danger it sticks it’s head in the sand, figuring if it doesn’t see the danger, the danger isn’t there. And it is an old wives tale; ostriches live in Africa and where they live there isn’t a whole lot of soft sand.

How many of us have worked for someone, or some company, that decides when there is a problem to just ignore it and hope it will go away? Isn’t that what people do, in general?

When it comes to God, Yeshua being the Messiah, and the validity of the Bible, people of just about every religion have a different take. And then there are those that deny the very existence of God. Just start to mention Him and they stick their head in the sand: “Shields up, Mr. Scott!”

Their choice. And just like the ostrich, they can deny God’s existence, say that all life evolved from an amoeba by random chance mutations, and that aliens are really the one’s that are responsible for the “God” stories, but that won’t change the truth that God is real, He is the creator, and Yeshua is the Messiah He promised to send to us. And, worst of all, if you reject God, Yeshua and the truth about salvation, you will end up suffering through all eternity. all those that believe aliens are responsible for life on Earth, please answer this: who created the aliens?

God is real, and He is waiting for us to accept that fact. He has proven His existence, but it isn’t what would be called a “scientific” proof. That is something that is reproducible- if you can’t make it happen on demand, it can’t be absolutely proven, scientifically. The Bible tells us of all the miraculous things God has done, but it also says “Do not test the Lord, your God”, so to ask God to prove He exists will not get us anywhere. When asked for a sign, Yeshua called the people an “evil generation.” Were they really evil, just asking for a sign? I don’t think that’s what He meant: I think Yeshua was calling their lack of faith an evil thing, meaning not Godly. Their faithlessness was evil and their desire to see miracles, I think, would not have made any real difference. Those calling for a sign are the “poor soil” that may let the seed of God’s kingdom sprout, but it is too malnourished (spiritually) to keep the plant growing. With the very next “sign” they will follow someone else. The Bible also tells us that in the End Days there will be many signs and people who say they’re Yeshua, and they will be able to make miraculous things happen.

The people who call for a sign to prove that God is really God will end up being evil, for they will be fooled by the Enemy and they’ll end up taking the mark.

Faith is believing in things that can’t be proven. God does give us proof, though: the existence of everything you see, birth, death, the unbelievable diversity of life and the total balance of everything. He really has shown us, unquestionably, that when He says, “I am that I am”, that He is. It’s faith that lets us accept this proof, and lack of faith that ignores it.

What a pity! Those that lack faith will have all the proof they ever wanted, but it will come to them too late for them to do anything to reverse their position.

My father and mother both denied God’s existence, and especially Dad. He was a stubborn and faithless man, and when he couldn’t argue with me or deny God, just before he died, I prayed for him, and tried to intercede on his behalf. I don’t know if he heard me and was able to accept my prayers, and it is too late now to change anything. I can only hope I was successful. My sister says that she was with Mom and Mom did accept the Lord before she passed, so I hope to see her again.

How many of us have loved ones that just don’t want to accept God, or remain bigoted and steadfastly ignorant of the truth about Yeshua being the Messiah? How many of us have prayed until we sweat blood to have God intercede, miraculously, to bring these people into the Kingdom?

My two children have rejected me and that’s mainly because they were fed their mother’s hatefulness and spite their whole lives. Once they got their inheritance at 21 they both, in their own way and for their own reasons, just cut me out of their lives. And, just like their mother taught them to do, they made it all my fault. So, I pray for them every day. I pray for reconciliation, I pray they are protected, and I pray for their mother (not as often, I confess) because if she can be turned to God then she can help them turn to God.

Yet, although I pray in Yeshua’s name, and I remind God of Yeshua’s promise that His father will give us whatever we pray for, and I remind God that my prayer is in keeping with His will that all sinners be turned from their sin, I know God will answer my prayer and intercede in their lives but it is still up to Alexandra and Bryce to make their own choice. God can lead them to water (the water of everlasting life, that is) but they have to choose to drink. God will not force us to accept Him, and if he has plans for you but you refuse to be part of it, then He will simply find someone else.

Just as Mordecai said to Hadassah (Esther), if she doesn’t help then help will come from another source. God’s will will be done on Earth, as it is in heaven. When we accept that as fact, then we will be riding on that train, instead of being run over by it.

We cannot make someone love God, or accept Yeshua as their Messiah. We can only show them through our words and what we do that there is something more than just “human” about us. God wants His people, no matter what religion they were brought up with, to be separated from the world. That also means separated from the human-made religious tenets you may have grown up with. If you profess to worship God but obey a Rabbi, Priest, Minister or Pastor over the word of God that He gave us in the Torah,  you need to rethink your devotion. God tells us that He is no respecter of men (check it out in both Acts and Romans), so what makes you think He will respect the extra regulations and rules that men made over and above what God told us? Especially when these rules and regulations go directly against what God said we should do? Doesn’t God tell us in D’Varim (Deuteronomy), at least two times, not to add to or detract from any of the words in this book?

I wish there was some way to prove to those asking for proof that God exists and Yeshua is His Messiah. Evolution goes against God, and it has never been scientifically proven, but the world accepts it as fact. They have total faith in something that is a lie, but no faith in the ultimate truth of God. Oy! Shaul said he was willing to even give up his own salvation if it could save his Jewish brothers and sisters, and so would I. In a heartbeat! In a breath! In the wink of an eye! In a nanosecond, even! (OK, OK, Steve- we get it!) But I know that’s not how it works- we each are responsible for our own choices (the sins of the father will not pass on to the children, and the sins of the children will not pass to the father: Ezekiel.)

We each have to make our own choice, so when you pray for someone to accept God and Yeshua, pray for God to send them angels of mercy to help open their eyes and unplug their ears, and have hope in the fact that although God will never force them to accept Him, He is really, really good at convincing people.