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Friday Sermon: Of Life Man and Death

By Babatunde Jose

Of all the mysteries confronting Mankind’s quest for knowledge, the greatest is the mystery called “life.” Evolution theory tries to explain how life on Earth evolved, all the way from the earliest, one-celled creatures to Homo sapiens; but it leaves many questions begging for answers. The earliest known life forms on Earth are putative fossilized microorganisms found in hydrothermal vent precipitates. The earliest time that life forms first appeared on Earth is unknown. They could have lived earlier than 3.77 billion years ago, but not long after the oceans formed 4.41 billion years ago, and not long after the formation of the Earth 4.54 billion years ago. The earliest direct evidence of life on Earth are microfossils of microorganisms’ permineralized in 3.465-billion-year-old Australian Apex chert rocks.

“Life” is defined as the ability to absorb nutrients (of any kind) and to replicate, not just to exist. Even the biblical tale of Creation recognizes that when the most complex being on Earth, Man, was shaped out of “clay,” divine intervention was needed to “breathe the spirit or breath of life” into him. Without that, no matter how ingeniously created, he was not yet animate, not yet living.

The Qur’an states that “Allah created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six days” (Quran 7:54). While on the surface this might seem similar to the account related in the Bible, there are some important distinctions.

The verses that mention “six days” use the Arabic word “youm” (day). The word “youm” thus understood, within the Qur’an, to be a long period of time — an era or eon. Therefore, Muslims interpret the description of a “six day” creation as six distinct periods or eons. The lengths of these periods are not precisely defined, nor are the specific developments that took place during each period. There is no 7th day of Creation in Islam as God is not a man that he should rest, go on leave or sabbatical. The Bible corroborates this fact in Psalm when it affirms: indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:4

According to fossil records, man first appeared around 66 million years ago, soon after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that eliminated about three-quarters of plant and animal species on Earth, including most dinosaurs. Theories regarding the causes range from climatic changes to viral epidemics, to destruction by a “Death Star.” Whatever the cause, there was an unmistakable end of one evolutionary period and the beginning of another. In the words of Genesis, it was the dawn of the sixth “day.” Modern science calls it the Cenozoic (“current life”) era, when mammals spread across the Earth. This is how the Bible put it: And Elohim said: “Let the Earth bring forth living animals according to their kind: bovines, and those that creep, and beasts of the land, all according to their kind,” And it was so. Thus did Elohim make all the animals of the land according to their kinds, and all the bovines according to their kinds, and all those that creep upon the earth by their kinds. Genesis 1:24. There is full agreement here between Bible and Science. The conflict between Creationists and Evolutionists reaches its crux in the interpretation of what happened next—-the appearance of Man on Earth.

Man was a latecomer to Earth. We are not the oldest story of evolution but only its last few pages. Modem science agrees. Where did man come from? According to evolutionists, one of the early mammals was known as a tree shrew. He was not much larger than a squirrel. This creature lived on trees and gradually evolved into primitive monkeys and other apelike creatures. From these apelike creatures there evolved two major groups: 1) the great apes, such as the gorilla, orangutan, gibbon and chimpanzee; 2) a creature who came down from the trees and who started walking upright (all monkeys and apes walk on all fours). He is now known as MAN! See: ” The Awesome ·worlds Within a Cell,” National Geographic, September, 1976, pp. 392-393.

There are many problems with the theory. Here are just a few:

1. It is impossible for life to come from non-life. Evolutionists teach that the first living cell evolved from non-life. There is no evidence that this ever happened. Life does not just happen by chance. The reason we have life on this planet (animal life, plant life, human life) is because the Creator made it so. God created all plants and all living creatures. All experiments made to simulate origin of life from a primordial soup never succeeded.

2. There is no evidence that amphibians evolved into reptiles. Nor that reptiles evolved into mammals. Not to talk of reptiles evolved into birds. The fossil record does not back up the claims of evolution.

3. There are variations found in the various “kinds” of animals which God created which evolution cannot explain. For example, think of all the varieties of dogs; all the varieties of cats. Think of all the varieties of humans. All humans came from the same parents (Adam and Eve) and yet we do not all look alike (different colored skin, different eyes, etc.). God has made the various kinds of animals with great genetic potential for variation. He did this for humans as well. However, one kind of animal does not change into another kind. Animals always reproduce “after their kind” (Genesis 1: 1 1, 21 ,25). Lizards do not change into birds. Reptiles do not evolve into lions. Dogs do not evolve into cats. Land mammals do not change into whales. Eels do not evolve into snakes. Apes do not evolve into humans. The most common spiritual denominator between man and other creatures is death.

Death has been described as an inevitable corollary of living. It is inescapable and according to the good books, all men must taste death. There are 131.4 million births per year and 55.3 million deaths each year. This translates to 250 births per minute and 105 deaths per minute. “No self knows what it will earn tomorrow and no self knows in what land it will die.” (Quran 31:34)

It is this death that took our father Dr Isma’il Babatunde Jose eleven years ago.  This same death took our cousin Waliu Ademola Elegbede away last Wednesday July 31, 2019: A fine gentleman per excellence. The same death had during the year claimed many of our loved ones and relations, including Iya Gani and Laide in rapid succession. Recently it knocked on the door of Chief Mrs Comfort Osebosade Fajemirokun, mother of our friend and brother Dele Fajemirokun; she would be buried in Ondo next week Thursday.

May Allah forgive them their trespasses and admit them all to the garden of bliss.

But we give thanks to God for the life of our brother, Abubakar Oluwatosin Jose, who adds another milestone today. May Allah preserve him: Happy birthday Abu.

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend

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