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Over the past two decades researchers have developed remarkable new tools for probing the unconscious, or subliminal, workings of the mind. This explosion of research has led to a sea change in our understanding of how the mind affects the way we live. Seating is limited. Your admission fee is a donation that pays for our lecture expenses. Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist with Dr. Ian and Derek discuss why comedy is a great fit for talking about skeptical and scientific issues.

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In modern science the homunculus refers to various models of the human mind, but in medieval times it was something quite different. Join us for a fascinating interview with professor William R. He is the author of seven books, including Promethean Ambitions: Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature —a book which provides much insight into the seedy back-story of this strange creature. This episode contains adult material and may be unsuitable for junior skeptics. Share this eSkeptic with friends online. Subscribe to Skeptic magazine for more great articles like this one.

At one point Ian Hutchinson fished out an old chestnut of an argument, one often used by Christian apologists, that, to my mind, has too long gone without rebuttal. He stated that, of all the ancient creation myths only Genesis 1 features a transcendent deity who created the universe out of nothing and is independent of it. This Christian apologetic argument, known as creation ex nihilo , is obscure enough that scientists and others debating Christian apologists are often baffled by it and without a reasonable rebuttal. Does the Big Bang theory in fact claim creation ex nihilo?

Without becoming ensnared in the abstruse discipline of cosmology, about which most of us, myself included, are profoundly ignorant, I might observe that the quantum field can be metaphorically related to the primeval chaos out of which first things emerge in many creation myths. That metaphor notwithstanding, I will, however, refrain from making the quantum field an argument for the validity of neo-pagan theology.

A particular weakness of the argument for creation ex nihilo is that it demands a rigorous, one to one, translation of a single Hebrew word in Genesis , bara , when its proponents should know that the definition of Hebrew words is often complicated because they have multiple meanings dependent on context.

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This is followed by a series of creation events populating the separated realms—the land populated with plants, the firmament populated with heavenly bodies, the sea populated with fish and sea monsters, the air with birds, and the land, again, with animals—followed finally by the creation of humans in the image of God.

Another blow to the uniqueness of Genesis 1 is that it is almost certainly based on the sequence of creation events in Enuma elish , the Babylonian creation epic. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. The Hebrew word for the deep is tehom.

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Of course, Genesis 1 does not begin with a divine combat. That its author edited out an original combat between Yahweh and a chaos dragon can be seen from the many allusions to such a battle, with a serpent variously referred to as Leviathan and Rahab, salted throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. Consider the following:. Psalms , Thou didst divide the sea by thy might. Thou didst break the heads of the dragons of the waters. Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan. Thou didst give him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.

However, Christian apologists could easily argue that the similarities between Enuma elish and Genesis 1 are only coincidental and that Professor van Wolde is wrong in her interpretation of the verb bara. In a word, no. While most of the Egyptian creation myths there are several begin with a creator deity rising from Nun, the watery abyss, there are a number of Egyptian papyri antedating the P Document creation story of Genesis 1—probably written no earlier than ca.

The god is described as: 4. An even earlier papyrus, the Papyrus Hunefur, now in the British Museum and dating from the 19th dynasty ca.

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Thou art the one god who came into being in the beginning of time. Thou didst create the earth, Thou didst fashion man. Thou didst make the watery abyss of the sky [i.

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Thou didst form Hapi [i. Thou didst create the great deep…. At this point, Christian apologists are likely to point out that the translations of Egyptian material by E. Wallis Budge are outdated and possibly faulty. However, in a more up to date translation of another text, a hymn to the god Ptah in the Papyrus Harris I, written during the reign of Ramesses III — BCE , also speaks of a transcendent god: 6.

Greetings to you exalted ancient one, O Tatenen [Ptah] father of the gods, Eldest god of the primeval time, who shaped mankind and formed the gods, Who began Becoming, is the first primeval god— every event that occurred came after him. Who created the sky according to what his heart imagined and raised it like a feather Who founded the world as his own creation, circled it about with Ocean and the Great Green Sea Who made the underworld, province for the dead allowing Ra o sail across below to comfort them Ruler of Eternity forever.

That Ptah is credited here with creating the sky and the sea, the two abysses from which the gods emerge, demonstrates that Ptah, in this hymn, was seen as independent of the abyss.

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  4. Thus, even before the semi-legendary period depicted in the Book of Judges, when a tribal confederacy worshiping a henotheistic deity named Yahweh, was still competing for space with a host of other tribal groups, the already ancient civilization of Egypt had conceived of a transcendent god over all other gods, and this was not the God of the Bible. Besides the Egyptians, the ancient Hindus also envisioned a creation ex nihilo , well before the P document was written.

    The Indian Rig Veda has been dated anywhere from ca.

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    It asks:. If in the beginning there was neither Being nor Non-Being, neither air nor sky what was there? Who or what oversaw it? What was it when there was no darkness, light, life or death? We can only say that there was the One that which breathed of itself deep in the void, that which was heat and became desire and the germ of spirit. In fact, according to David Leeming, author of Creation Myths of the World , creation ex nihilo is about as common as creation from a pre-existing watery chaos. Thus, the God of the Bible was far from unique in creating ex nihilo , if indeed his Jewish creators even cared about such a theological fine point.

    Genesis and the Rahab Conspiracy

    He did not suddenly appear, transcendent, universal and alone, in stark contrast to a host of crudely conceived idols, gods of wood and stone, as the Bible presents it. Rather, his development was gradual and the concept of him as an eventually monotheistic, universal deity borrowed heavily from cultures that were old when Israel was young.

    How accurate were the Biblical prophets? Are modern events fulfillment of things described in the Book of Revelation? Tim Callahan investigates the claims of fundamentalist ministers that the fates of nations were foretold in accurate detail by prophets and apocalyptic literature. By comparing the predictions to actual history, as well as to each other and by noting evidence of historical anachronisms and faulty scholarship on the part of fundamentalist apologists, Callahan subjects the prophecies of the Bible to four rigorous questions… READ more and order the book.

    The delusion itself will be of such power thatit will affect all mankind, and will quite likely be the catalyst thatwill unite the different faiths to a greater or lesser degree. This book will answer some difficult questions, and explain how avery timely biblical Truth has been subtly hidden over the years,which will result in causing great confusion for many Christians ofall denominations, in perhaps the not too distant future.

    If what I am presenting in these pages is correct then this is a bookthat needs to be read by every Christian. If I am wrong then I expectto spend the rest of my life with egg on my face. However, the conviction that I have had, that has caused me to writethis in the first place, is deep enough for me to take that chance. From Rahab to Revelation A M Cornford Written from a Christian perspective, this book is designed to take the reader on a journey of intrigue, and one which follows a trail of ruin and restoration as it winds its way through the war-torn battlefield of light versus darkness, of life v Bloggat om Genesis and the Rahab Conspiracy.