The bible describes the creation of the universe and the earth as occurring about 6,000 years ago over a seven “day” period.  I don’t believe I have to belabor the point that this is just not the case.  The age of the earth is measured in the hundreds of millions of years and life has been on the planet for at least a hundred million years.  Evolution has led to the diversity of life in our world over millions of years of constant selective pressure. These are scientific facts.  The universe is estimated to be 5-6 billion years old, starting with a “big bang” that is still being sorted out by scientists.  These are ideas that have been borne out by the scientific method of testing, observation, and refinement of the hypothesis.  They have been supported by a mountain of data and are about as well established as the idea that the earth is round (although I suspect there are those who would argue that too).  Believers around the world argue that the theory of evolution is “just a theory” and has not been proven yet.  This stance betrays their ignorance.  These semantic arguments are no more valid than to argue that viruses and bacteria don’t exist because the germ theory is “just a theory”. 

Of interest is the notion of “biological unity”.  This is the concept that all living things are related genetically.  We, as human beings, share 98% of our genetic code with chimpanzees and 93% with mice.  It turns out that we share a common “core” of genetic material with plants, bacteria, and with all non-mammal animals as well.  As a result, by analyzing how similar our genetic codes are, it is possible to determine how closely related we are to other living things from an evolutionary point of view.  This serves as stunningly powerful evidence that all living things originated from a common (non-Adam) ancestor.  For an eloquent discussion of this concept the reader is referred to The Ancestor’s Tale, and a second book, The greatest Show On Earth, both by Richard Dawkins.

It seems fairly clear that the earth and all that is in it did not come into existence as the bible describes.  Even more interesting is the notion that not only is there no evidence for a “creator” per se, there is excellent and mounting evidence that we don’t even need one.  That is, as scientific progress is made, answers come together such that there are no gaps that need to be filled with God.  Does evolution rule out a creator?  Certainly not.  There could be a god lurking in the shadows, but his hand is not obvious. 

In fairness, I will say that thoughtful challengers to atheism often raise the question of “Why?”  Why would the universe favor creation instead of non-creation?  Why shouldn’t there just be blackness instead of light, heat and expansion and contraction?  This question assumes that all we see happens for a reason.  I would contend that there doesn’t need to be a just is.  That seems like a cop-out, but it really isn’t.  I will admit that it is hard to think of a universe with no purpose.  We are not accustomed to that.  We need at least a prime mover.  Who or what set the whole thing in motion?  Science is working that very problem.  I will suggest that the prime mover is mass--Cosmic Mass.  Gravity acts on it.  Heat expands it.  Cosmic Mass produces cosmic heat which then expands in a cosmic explosion.  Let there be light.  I will let the Stephen Hawkings and the Albert Einsteins of the world sort out the rest of the details.

Conclusion:  I conclude that presented with the mystery of how this amazing and diverse world came to be, early thinkers invented an explanation that made sense to them at the time.  They postulated that a being of great power and wisdom created this place for us.  Then he created us in his own image.  More modern thinkers have more data to work with.  Our knowledge about the universe and our world have taught us that nature has created this place without specific purpose.  And God may not have created us in his image unless he too evolved from ancestral animal forms.  To me it seems more likely that we created him in ours. 

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Further interesting reading:

The Greatest Show On Earth. Dawkins 2009

Hydroplate Theory

A Few Silly Flaws In Walter Brown's Hydroplate Theory, by Joyce Arthur

The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution.  Dawkins 2004

Creation Wiki Encyclopedia of Creation Science