IN THE BEGINNING
Introduced by Lasha Darkmoon
THE FALL OF MAN
This poetic account of the Creation of the universe and the Fall of Man is still taken literally by many fundamentalist Christians today, especially in the United States. A 2017 Gallup survey found that 38% of American adults subscribe to the view that “God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”
These fundamentalists (who number in the tens of millions) prefer to get their cosmology from the Book of Genesis than from modern science. They also refuse to believe that the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is a poetic allegory. They insist that the account of the Fall of Man in Genesis is to be taken literally.
This account of the early days of Creation, couched in the finest English prose ever written—that of the King James Version of the Bible—is today taken by most educated people as allegorical. Right up to Darwin’s time, however, it was widely believed that the world had been created by a beneficent deity within the last few thousand years. “The poor world is almost six thousand years old,” observes a character in one of Shakespeare’s plays. This was a view undoubtedly held by Shakespeare himself and his contemporaries.
Today we know, or think we know, that the universe came into being with a mysterious Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Time, space and matter apparently came into existence simultaneously and did not exist before the Big Bang. You are not allowed to ask the heretical question, “What existed before the Big Bang?” any more than the Victorian child was allowed to ask the heretical question, “Who made God?”
Apart from the origin of the universe 13.8 billion years ago, it is now generally acknowledged by most scientists that the Earth on which we live is 4.5 billion years old. It apparently took a billion years (1,000,000,000 years) for the first life on earth to appear, i.e., 3.5 billion years ago. However, it took a very long time for own species, Homo Sapiens, to evolve from the first great apes who appeared 14 million years ago. The genus Homo first appeared 2.5 million years ago, separating itself from the apes into a distinct species, but these low-IQ and simian forebears of the human race were to evolve into Homo Sapiens only quite recently — 200,000 years ago.
Though immense progress has been made in science and technology over the last few hundred years, man himself remains little more than a savage in the depths of his soul, hardly any superior in rationality and impulse control to his Stone Age ancestors. As for the ultimate questions, these still remain unanswered: Why are we here? What’s it all about? Is there any point to it all? Where is it all leading? Any attempt to answer these questions leads to acrimony and a brick wall.