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"Omphalos" it was!

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  • rlbaty@webtv.net
    Nathan, on the coCBanned list was, I believe, proposing that the first Adam had a belly button and that the first tree had at least one ring to match Adam s
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2005
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      Nathan, on the coCBanned list was, I believe, proposing that the first
      Adam had a belly button and that the first tree had at least one ring to
      match Adam's belly button.

      I mused that I thought there had been a book written about that.

      Doing a quick check, I found this brief review of that "Omphalos" book
      (excerpts):

      ##########################

      Philip Henry Gosse

      (April 6, 1810 - August 23, 1888)

      2 His best-known book, Omphalos

      His best-known book, Omphalos

      The problem of the age of the earth was a vexed one for much of the 19th
      century. The work of James Hutton had suggested that the earth had to be
      much, much older than those who trusted biblical chronology could
      accept.

      Regardless of whether one believed James Ussher's date of 4004 BC to be
      the true date of Earth's origin, no biblically reconstructed date for
      the creation of the earth was long enough to be close to the time that
      was implied by geology or, later, zoology.

      Various theories had been proposed prior to the publication of Omphalos.
      Among them was the notion that the biblical "days" were metaphorical and
      corresponded to much longer periods of time (so-called "interval
      theory"). Another proposed that time may have worked differently before
      the Fall, and still others made a forthright appeal to God's
      omnipotence, meaning he could cause apparently long geological ages to
      occur in short periods of time.

      Gosse, however, pointed out that life ran in cycles: birth and death and
      birth again; rain to river to ocean to cloud to rain. Chicken from egg,
      egg from chicken. If one assumed a creation from nothing, there must
      always be traces of previous existence that never actually existed,
      otherwise certain things would not work. The name Omphalos hearkened
      back to the earlier Christian debate over Adam's navel, the existence of
      which would have implied his non-existent birth from a non-existent
      mother -- Omphalos being Greek for "navel".

      Gosse compiled several hundred pages of examples of similar thoughts,
      then tied it all together by stating that when creation occurred,
      apparent records of events occurring that actually did not occur -- he
      called them "prochronic", meaning "outside time" -- must have been rife
      throughout the world. Was it not reasonable to argue that fossils and
      geologic strata and so on were merely prochronic artifacts of a
      non-existent time pre-dating the actual Creation? This idea became known
      as the Omphalos hypothesis.

      Gosse's theory was unsatisfactory to both sides of the debate, and his
      book was savaged by critics on both ends of the spectrum. Those of a
      scientific bent and those of religious mind generally rejected the
      theory on the grounds that they could not accept that God would play
      such an enormous hoax. There was simply no point to it, and some other
      explanation was deemed necessary.

      Two years later, Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species was published,
      and another exit from Gosse's endless ring became apparent: rather than
      a circle, the history of life was an ever-widening spiral, emanating
      from a single point in the distant past. Fossils and so on were the
      record of that spiral.

      #########################

      I guess the apparent age/mature age folks to today have the same
      problem; they don't fit in with legitimate science types and have a real
      problem with the YEC folk and others who try to maintain that God does
      not play tricks on us.

      Sincerely,
      Robert Baty
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