I have been advised to put aside all the arguments and science, and to read Genesis and listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling me. When I read the first chapters of Genesis in this manner, I have peace. I am confident that God has created me and all that exists. I know that mankind is at the very center of God's love. I know that God Almighty is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. I realize that we have all sinned, and that only Jesus Christ can redeem us. I am confident that nothing under heaven or on earth can ever separate us from the Love of God in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:36-39)!
But I could have offered him something so much better! You can have God! You can have good science, too! You don't have to go against your conscience, and deny those facts that you firmly believe are true. You don't have to bear false witness about the age of the earth. God is much bigger than that! You will have plenty of Christian company in your beliefs, too. In the words of Billy Graham, "Everything that is true, good, and uplifting - these things you can keep when you become a Christian. You will put away all that is false, bad, and hurtful; but the good things you can keep." The atheist needs God, and wants God in his life. This man can be saved!
It is this question that has caused many to incorrectly deem Mars colonization intractable, or at least inferior in prospect to the Moon. For example, much has been made of the fact that the Moon has indigenous supplies of helium-3, an isotope not found on Earth and which could be of considerable value as a fuel for second generation thermonuclear fusion reactors. Mars has no known helium-3 resources. On the other hand, because of its complex geologic history, Mars may have concentrated mineral ores, with much greater concentrations of precious metal ores readily available than is currently the case on Earth — because the terrestrial ores have been heavily scavenged by humans for the past 5,000 years. If concentrated supplies of metals of equal or greater value than silver (such as germanium, hafnium, lanthanum, cerium, rhenium, samarium, gallium, gadolinium, gold, palladium, iridium, rubidium, platinum, rhodium, europium, and a host of others) were available on Mars, they could potentially be transported back to Earth for a substantial profit. Reusable Mars-surface based single-stage-to-orbit vehicles would haul cargoes to Mars orbit for transportation to Earth via either cheap expendable chemical stages manufactured on Mars or reusable cycling solar or magnetic sail-powered interplanetary spacecraft. The existence of such Martian precious metal ores, however, is still hypothetical.
But there is one commercial resource that is known to exist ubiquitously on Mars in large amount — deuterium. Deuterium, the heavy isotope of hydrogen, occurs as 166 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Earth, but comprises 833 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Mars. Deuterium is the key fuel not only for both first and second generation fusion reactors, but it is also an essential material needed by the nuclear power industry today. Even with cheap power, deuterium is very expensive; its current market value on Earth is about $10,000 per kilogram, roughly fifty times as valuable as silver or 70% as valuable as gold. This is in today's pre-fusion economy. Once fusion reactors go into widespread use deuterium prices will increase. All the in-situ chemical processes required to produce the fuel, oxygen, and plastics necessary to run a Mars settlement require water electrolysis as an intermediate step. As a by product of these operations, millions, perhaps billions, of dollars worth of deuterium will be produced.
Ideas may be another possible export for Martian colonists. Just as the labor shortage prevalent in colonial and nineteenth century America drove the creation of "Yankee ingenuity's" flood of inventions, so the conditions of extreme labor shortage combined with a technological culture that shuns impractical legislative constraints against innovation will tend to drive Martian ingenuity to produce wave after wave of invention in energy production, automation and robotics, biotechnology, and other areas. These inventions, licensed on Earth, could finance Mars even as they revolutionize and advance terrestrial living standards as forcefully as nineteenth century American invention changed Europe and ultimately the rest of the world as well.
Some of the miracles recorded by the Bible seem to have a natural component. There is an east wind mentioned before the . The Jordan River has been temporarily blocked by a landslide several times in recorded history. The Holy Land is subject to earthquakes. Are all miracles caused by natural causes, without God?
The occurrence of an extremely unlikely event that serves human need can also be viewed as a miracle. The birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah in their old age was a miracle (Genesis 21:1-7). However, one had better be very sure that the probabilities have been evaluated correctly, or risk disillusionment later when a more likely mechanism is discovered. I think that Fred Hoyle's estimate of the likelihood of a cell forming "by chance" (1 in 10^40) is not correct because he does not include intermediate steps. It is certainly difficult to flip 133 coins and have them all come up heads - unless you work on the first one, the second one, and then the third one, and so on until you have 133 heads (this process took me only nine minutes). The arising of life on earth is indeed a miracle, but we don't need to base our faith on a flawed mathematical analysis.
The first 11 chapters of Genesis do contain some historically verifiable facts. We know of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. We know the mountains of Ararat in Turkey. The Tower of Babel is similar to Babylonian ziggurats. The contrast is with the rest of the Bible. In Hebron today you can stand within 50 feet of Abraham's bones at the Cave of Machpelah (the Tomb of the Patriarchs)! In Jerusalem you can visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and decide if you prefer it to the Garden Tomb. You can read the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and review his testimony about Jesus Christ. You can carbon-date to the time of Christ a fishing boat excavated from the bottom of the Sea of Galilee, and match certain of its design features to the Gospel account of Jesus calming a storm. It is only against this high level of verified history that the first part of Genesis seems a little strange.
The Flood is a miracle, either global or local. Why is there a need to invent pseudo-science to "explain" it? We don't need 70-mile high geysers, volcanoes, massive earthquakes, and entire continents appearing and disappearing in a few months. These catastrophes are not reported in the Biblical account of the flood, and we don't need to add them. There are a few allusions such as in 2 Peter 3:6 "so that the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded with water", but not enough to base a history or a theology. Don't we believe in miracles? It's much better to say "I don't know" than to make up an explanation for Biblical events that we don't understand.
Let the Earth Bring Forth.
The phrase "let the earth bring forth..." occurs three times in Genesis 1 (verses 11, 20 with water, 24). It does not refer to simple growth from nutrients, because this chapter is about creation. The literal meaning of this phrase matches theistic evolution better than any other creation theory! It's almost a definition of theistic evolution, which is why I put it at the top of this essay. God commanded the earth to produce animals, and the planet did so according to His command.
I need God. You need God. The world needs God. We all need Jesus Christ, because His death on the cross and resurrection remove our sins and enable us to live forever with God in heaven (Isaiah 53). I needed God to thank for my loving bride on the day we were married. I needed God to praise when our daughter and son were born. I needed God to call me back to Him on Good Friday in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1981. I needed God to give me strength, when the children in Jinotega wanted me to read them stories in Spanish and I was sick to my stomach. I need grace. I needed the name of Jesus to greet suspicious villagers in Kamakuywa, and then we built houses together in joyful Christian fellowship.