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Summary: Gen 1:1

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We know we’re supposed to be looking for something. It’s got something to do with "happiness"—but what is it: Money? Success? Family? Friends? Self-sacrifice? Beating your competitors? All of these? None of these? Confusing and unsettling, isn’t it?

Perhaps the only way to find out where we are in the human drama, and where we should be going, is to go back to the very beginning.

Human beginnings were once the domain of philosophers, religious leaders, college "bull sessions," park-bench debates, and barroom brawls. But now "science" has gotten into the act.

In the beginning was hydrogen. At first that hydrogen was pressed together into some incredibly dense ball of matter. Then, for reasons we may never fully understand, that ball of matter exploded in a "Big Bang" that sent radiation, gas, and dust rushing out into the ever-expanding reaches of our universe. Under the influence of gravity, particles began to collect to form galaxies. Within those galaxies, stars began to shine. Around those stars, cold material collected to form planets. Of all the millions and billions of planets that must have formed in a manner like this, one is this tiny chunk of rock we call home, the earth.

At first the earth was quite different from what it is now. Lightning flashed back and forth in an atmosphere of methane and ammonia for perhaps a billion years, producing molecules that rained down into the ancient oceans. Then, just by chance, a group of molecules got together that could reproduce, and life on earth began.

About 600 million years ago, fossils first began to form, in abundance, of those early, simple kinds of life, forms like the trilobites. About 400 million years ago, the first land plants and animals appeared in the sequence. About four million years ago, certain apes took those first upright steps toward becoming human beings.

People are the first animals able to look back over the history of their own development. As we do so, we learn things that help us understand ourselves and our nature. Why do we do things harmful to our own kind? It’s that "jungle fight for survival" that brought us into being in the first place.

Evolution" is a philosophical and speculative theory, of recent origin, whereby it is sought to account for the various elements and compounds of the inorganic world, and also for the countless species of living creatures in the organic world.

If we were to compress the time since the Big Bang into one year, and make the time of the Big Bang January 1,

The Earth was formed in mid-September.

The mammals appeared on December 26.

All human prehistory (from the first known stone tools) and history have occurred in the last 1/2 hour of New Year’s Eve.

Thus, all of human history is but a fleeting instant on the cosmic timescale.

The Universe is probably 10-20 billion years old. Our Solar System is probably 4-5 billion years old.

We don’t know whether the Universe has an "end" or not; we are not completely sure even of the full meaning of the question.


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