“The only two certain things” Franklin may have said, possibly referencing a line by Defoe “are death and taxes”.
However, those who are “in the know” are aware that these things are far from certain, either. The very poor are unaware of taxes, and not really experiencing them, and often not even the benefit of other people paying them. The very rich are also capable of making their tax burdens rather uncertain as to the absolute quantum, and God alone knows what percentage of any particular man or woman’s real efforts have been taken from him in one form of taxation or another and of those which percentage actually used to good effect.
Death also is not certain for the Christian, it is written that some “will not taste of death”, which is generally taken to mean that they will be raptured and changed into their resurrection states in the “twinkling of an eye” (I Cor 15:52). We are also shown in the Bible how Enoch and Elijah are taken bodily to heaven, without dying (Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11), possibly in order to be the two witnesses we read about in Revelation 11:3-12.
So is anything certain, then? Yes. The certainty is change. The only certainty is that given enough time nothing is certain. Everything must change. And nowhere more is the effect of change seen than when one generation hands over to the next generation. We have another Pharaoh in Exodus who “knew not Joseph” and so the position of the Hebrews in the Egyptian kingdom starts to deteriorate, leading eventually to the Exodus in the parted waters of the Red Sea. But also we see throughout human history how what was decided by one generation in a dynasty is often overturned in the next.
The Nazis wanted to destroy the intellectuals of Poland, and so they executed officers, teachers, theatre directors, librarians, poets, anyone who could lead the people intellectually, along with their families. The children of ordinary farmers and factory workers, they thought, would not be in any state to replace the ones they took. But each time meiosis happens, it is the shuffling and redealing of a much bigger pack of cards than we might think, and genius which was not at all evident in the parents starts to come to the fore in the children. Now Poland is full of clever managers, inventors, thinkers whose parents drove trams or cleaned around in hospitals. I have met such people again and again, and also the opposite, which is a humbling thing, really. We all hope our children will be as clever or cleverer than we are, but this is not always the case either. Some of my readers may even be discovering this at the moment and having to come to terms with it.
A good rule to follow in business succession planning, by the way, is to consider that if you want one of your kids to take over your business from you, you’d better have four, as only 50% of them will have the intelligence needed to do it and only 50% will have the inclination and wish to do it. Both of these are needed and they are not dependent variables. Yes, I know people will turn around and say, “there you go again, GoldList Method Boy, stating things which are not science as if they were when genetics puts all of this differently and goes into detail and contradicts some of what you say”. Well, OK. Nevertheless, this actually works and is a pretty effective way of expressing how you need to prepare if you would like to have a business dynasty.
In the light of all the above, I had a meditation today on one popular story, well known to the kids of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
They say that “they all lived happily ever after”, but as far as the seven dwarfs was concerned, the next generation was were it started to go pear-shaped. Grumpy’s kids were all sweetness and light, Sleepy’s kids were workaholics, Sneezy’s kids didn’t have any allergoes to anything and rarely caught colds, Doc’s kids on the other hand were hopelessly unhealthy and also far too thick to be candidates for the medical profession, which was headed by Dopey’s son, the Surgeon general, Happy’s kids were all chronic depressives and Bashful’s lot were never off the television screen unless they were coming sozzled out of nighclubs singing at the tops of their voices with a retinue of fans in tow. This could be the premise for a nice screenplay or telenovella, in which case I am bagging it now and anyone else who does it has to pay me copyright fees? Why? Because my parents were very nice and wouldn’t have asked for copyright fees off annyone.
I was asked by Frank J, on talk.origins:
Assuming for the sake of argument, that “the world” was created, and life too, *how many years ago* do you think that the first life on Earth was created? And do you think our species was created in a “biological continuum” or did it require its own origin-of-life event? If the latter, how many years ago was it?
I personally think that human kind has been around for 70 generations before Christ and is now coming up to 70 generations after Christ, at which point it will end.
I think this is a version of events with about one adherent at the present time.
I think that in the Scripture it gives 14 generations from Christ to the captivity, 14 from the captivity back to David and 14 from David back to Abraham. This then stops, but shows the existience of a certain pattern which we can follow. It must be there for a reason. I discovered that working forwards from the beginning of Genesis there are 14 generations to Peleg, which name infers the division of the world, a reference I believe to the Babel event. The scripture does not hold, or claim to hold, a complete reference to all generations between Peleg and Abraham, and this is natural as there was no normal language at that time, so there are about 5 generations which have lost information – a very interesting period of earth’s history, by the way, about which there are probably more unanswered questions than any other – we have basically things like funnel beakers and cave paintings and that to go on.
Basically this means that Ussher probably assumed too literally that the generations between Peleg and Abraham were fully recorded in Genesis, but there simply isn’t enough time to get from a Babel scenario to the world as described in the time of Abraham in that space of tgime. In addition for this space of time there are divergent chronologoes in Chronicles and in Genesis, which for those who believe in inerrancy of Scripture ought to be a clue that the Bible is telling us that in that area it is not trying to give us a complete account.
14 generations between Adam and Peleg, 14 between Peleg and Abraham, 14 between Abraham and David, 14 between David and the captivity, and 14 between the Captivity and Christ. That’s seventy generations.
That’s a perfect number. And because Christ is the central figure of history, he comes in the middle of the generations.
The generation length, which I personally define as the age of a woman at the birth of her median surviving female child, can be placed at about 30 years. This means that 70 generations take around 2100 years. We live in the time where the 70th generation is being born, one of whom will be Antichrist, and maybe already is, and we also live in a time where the Gospel has been taken to every tribe, where the Jews have returned to Israel and where there is continual threat of war around Israel. We live in a time where we are being faced with monetary and political union and control to an unprecedented degree, and where the falling away from true religion has also been unprecedented. In short, almost all the prophecies that needed to be fulfilled before the Return of Christ in glory, and the garnering up and resurrection of those who accepted him in faith, be they alive or dead. The close of this creation and the unveiling of the new Creation outside of the restraints of the particular physical laws that have governed this one. We cannot die or suffer in it, we will know God and find bliss. We shall sing and fly like angels, dive like orcas and find wonder and beauty in every everlasting corner of it.
However the generations before Christ were not always 30 years. The chronologies show that before the Flood the aging process was much slower. It is possible that oxygen levels were lower and the free radicals responsible for aging less prominent – even now longevity is more seen in mountain populations as in the Caucuses, where oxygen is more scarce. The release of the waters and the process of their assuaging clearly changed the amount of oxygen available in the atmosphere. If you separate out hydrogen and oxygen as gases, instead of water vapour, then the hydrogen will wander off into space as it cannot be held by gravity. Hence during the assuaging of the Flood the amount of atmospheric oxygen increased strongly.
The first generations were therefore longer. The median child of a woman could have been hundreds of years. This means that we cannot say that these 70 generations lived only over 2100 years. They may have lived over 4900 years, which is the figure I get if I assume about 300 year generations until Noah’s generation (9th), and then that tapering down to Peleg’s. That gives 4900 BC and 2100 AD years for a total of 7000 years of creation.
So I think that life was created some 6900 years ago. Put in place looking mature and pre-existant, with Adam even having a navel, although he had no mother, and with radioactive isotopes in igneous rocks already partly decayed. This was no deception by God, as Adam knew perfectly well where he came from and always was able to hand down those facts through his generations, as did many people in the time when God communed more freely with man, but it was there to enable mankind in the latter generations (where overwhelmingly most of the human souls occur – especially in the last few generations in the modern era post Darwinism) to find an alternative to believe if they rejected God. It was made that way precisely so that we can believe whatever we choose. It was made that way precisely so that millions of human beings like you and me can have this debate, whether with each other or in the privacy of their own minds, and that some might be drawn to believe still in their creator and their redeemer, even when the world is dragging them to interpret the things God made in an atheist way, and that in the exercise of faith they may be separated ought, have their imperfections and iniquities forgiven and restored, and come to a knowledge of God in love and be enabled to join with him in a relationship of children to a father.
That’s what it’s all about. Be part of it. Believe, and be part of reality.