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part IV - Freemasonry, Science and Mankind

W. M. Don Falconer PM, PDGDC

Cosmology and all of the associated sciences have not been able to discover the source and ultimate purpose of life, which strongly suggests that there must be some hidden purpose in the creation that is beyond the present scope of human knowledge and comprehension.


The foundation of Freemasonry


When a petition for membership of the fraternity of freemasons is considered, an indispensable requirement of the applicant is his acknowledged belief in God. This vital precept is the foundation of Freemasonry and central to its rituals, which inspire a belief in the Divine Creator and faith in an indissoluble union between the Divine spirit and the human soul. In Freemasonry the universe is perceived as a reflection of God’s glory and an example of His omniscience, omnificence and omnipotence. The prodigious advances made in science have prompted theories to be advanced in an attempt to explain the origin and evolution of the universe and of life on earth. No satisfactory solutions have been found, but it would be appropriate to review current theories in the spheres of cosmology and evolution, to see if they invalidate any of the long established precepts of freemasonry.


The philosophy of evolution


Change has always been part of man's life and thoughts. A famous Greek scholar, Anaximander (611-547 BCE), is said to have taught that life arose from mud warmed in the sun and that the sequence of development was plants, then animals, then humans. Anaximander's teachings were studied and extended by another famous Greek philosopher, Heraclitus (544-483 BCE), who constantly reflected on life and death and on changes in the lands and seas and indeed the whole universe. He presaged the remarkable discoveries of modern science in his book On Nature, in which he said “All is change; only change is changeless”. In all countries subject to the dictates of the Church of Rome from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, during the Dark and Medieval Ages, scientific thought was so severely suppressed that all views expressed about creation were considered to be heretical except the strictest literal interpretation of the scriptural account.


During the three hundred years following the Renaissance, a concept called the fixity of the species grew out of the ideas implanted during the preceding period of religious suppression. It was thought that each species had its own individual ancestor from the beginning of time and that natural conditions and events like the environment, birth, growth and death do not produce changes in the species, only being part of an endlessly repeating pattern. It was not until late in the eighteenth century that a British poet, physician and naturalist Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), the grandfather of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), questioned the widely accepted concept of the fixity of the species. Jean Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829), a French naturalist, also disputed the validity of the fixity of the species. He coined the term biology and said that all forms of life are subject to evolution, advancing the theory that all species, including man, are descended from other species. He believed new structures appear in living species in response to deficiencies or an inner want and that when acquired they are inherited, whilst little used structures disappear in later generations. Biological Science: the web of life, prepared under the auspices of the Australian Academy of Science is a good reference.


Charles Darwin’s life of enquiry, documentation and learned writing began when he joined the Royal Navy's survey ship Beagle as its naturalist in 1831. On the 1st July 1858 papers that had been prepared independently by Charles Darwin and another English naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), were presented in London the Linnaean Society. Each paper put forward a different theory to explain how evolution could occur. In the following year Darwin published his first book entitled The Origin of the Species by Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, which was a condensation of a much longer book he was then writing. After another twelve years he published The Descent of Man, a sequel that extended his theory of evolution to include mankind. Darwin did not consider his views impious, because he believed that there was:


"a grandeur in this view of life with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that . . . from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being involved".


Since then scientists in a wide range of disciplines have continued the research begun by Lamarck, Wallace and Darwin and their published works are popular reading. Most people now understand the fundamentals of evolution.


The evolution of the universe


Investigations into the evolution of the universe rely upon comprehensive studies of the galaxies and stars. These studies are based upon detailed analyses of the light spectra of the visible galaxies and stars, from which it is possible to determine their physical composition, as well as their movements relative to the earth. The familiar increase in the apparent pitch of an approaching sound source, which reaches a crescendo as it passes the listener and then rapidly dies away as it departs, has a useful counterpart in the spectrum of a moving light source. This phenomenon is a function of the velocity of approach or departure of a source of sound or light and is called the Doppler Shift. Light waves from an approaching source exhibit an apparent shortening of the wavelength, so that the spectral lines are shifted towards the blue end of the spectrum. Conversely, light waves from a departing light source exhibit an apparent increase in wavelength, so that the spectral lines are shifted towards the red end of the spectrum, commonly called the red shift. The observed red shift is greater as the velocity of departure increases. Vesto Melvin Slipher (1875-1969), an American astronomer and pioneer of spectroscopy, studied the light emitted from galaxies and was the first to obtain the spectrum of a distant galaxy, Andromeda, in 1912. Slipher had determined the spectra of fourteen galaxies by 1914, in the course of which he discovered evidence of interstellar dust clouds. In 1920 Slipher announced that twelve spectra of the galaxies he had studied exhibited significant red shifts, from which he concluded that most galaxies within our range of observation are moving away from our galaxy at tremendous speeds.


The German-born American physicist, Albert Einstein (1879-1955), published his special theory of relativity in 1905. His special theory relates the energy E and the mass m of a moving particle to the velocity of light c, which is expressed by the equation E = mc². After Einstein had presented his general theory of relativity in 1915, he attempted to apply it to cosmological theories, as a result of which he proposed a solution for a static universe in 1917. To achieve this solution Einstein introduced a cosmological constant into his equation, related to the radius and density of the universe. He believed that he had derived a unique model, but the Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter (1872-1934) found an alternative solution which showed that the universe could be static only if empty of matter, but that it would expand with increasing velocity if any matter were introduced. In 1922 Alexander Alexandrovich Friedmann (1888-1925), a Russian mathematician, studied these theories and carried out further investigations of the relativity equations without assuming a static universe, when he found that different models of the universe could be derived if different values were assigned to Einstein's cosmological constant.


On the basis of comprehensive observations he had conducted on the spectra of many galaxies Edwin Powell Hubble (1889-1953), an American astronomer, concluded that the red shifts observed in those spectra are a result of the Doppler effect. Hubble's proposition has been tested repeatedly and is generally accepted. His reasoning was consummated in 1929 when he put forward the theory now called Hubble's Law, based on observations which show that the recessional velocity of a galaxy increases with increasing distance, from which may be derived the rate at which the universe is expanding. A comprehensive range of observations made to determine the red shifts of all the observable galaxies up to distances of 2,000 million light years, consistently indicate that the recessional velocity increases at the rate of 32 kilometres per second per million light years. Based on this rate of increase it can be shown that a recessional velocity equal to the speed of light, which is about 300,000 kilometres per second, will be reached over a distance of 10,000 million light years, which is about 10²³ kilometres.


Assuming that the observed recessional velocity is equal to the initial outward velocity of matter that has only been retarded by gravity since time began, it can be shown that all matter in the present galaxies would have begun to move outwards from a central point in space approximately 15,000 million years ago. This is the beginning of time according to the big bang or evolutionary theory of the universe that a Belgian priest, Georges Edouard Lemaître (1894-1966), was the first to propose in 1927. His hypothesis was that all material now in the universe came into existence at the instant of a big bang, before which it had been an accumulation of fundamental particles subjected to such extremely high pressures and temperatures that atoms as we know them could not exist. Rapid expansion would have begun immediately after the big bang, accompanied by sudden and extreme cooling, which would have been ideal for the formation of atoms. John Gribbin gives details of the concept of time on a cosmological scale in The Birth of Time, subtitled How We Measured the Age of the Universe. He examines the science of time in an historical context and discusses related aspects like the warping of space and time, which is of vital importance in the theory of relativity in his book In Search of the Edge of Time. Kitty Ferguson explores the closely associated concept of cosmological space in her very readable book Measuring the Universe, subtitled The Historical Quest to Quantify Space.


In 1965 Arno Allan Penzias (1933- ) a German-born American and another American, Robert Woodrow Wilson (1936- ), were the first physicists to observe that microwave radiations of 3.2 centimetres wavelength are arriving on earth from all directions, after having passed through cosmic space as concentric ripples. These radiations appear to be a remnant of a primeval explosion and indicate that cosmic space now has a temperature of about 3º above absolute zero. Although the temperature would have been extremely high immediately after the initial explosion, probably in the order of 1022 degrees centigrade, the very rapid cooling accompanying universal expansion would have allowed atoms to form quickly, then gases, followed over immense periods of time by the evolution of galaxies, stars and planets. Within this process, it is estimated that the earth would have come into existence about 4,500 million years ago. The concept of the big bang suggests that the universe has a finite life. Many books explain theories for the evolution of the universe, but some of the most interesting are God and the New Physics and The Mind of God by Professor Paul Davies and The Matter Myth by Professor Paul Davies and John Gribbin.


Alternative theories for cosmic evolution


A modification of the big bang concept, known as the oscillating or cyclic theory, suggests that the universe would not continue to expend indefinitely, but that after a period of some 25,000 million to 60,000 million years the cycle would reverse, until all material is again concentrated at a single point as it was immediately before the primeval explosion. This hypothesis suggests that such cycles could be repeated indefinitely, allowing the universe to exist forever in an oscillating state, but the period of oscillation appears to be arbitrary. The available evidence indicates that the average density of material in the universe would too low to arrest expansion and initiate contraction, so it seems most unlikely that the whole universe would oscillate in this fashion. However the collapsing of heavy stars during the formation of black holes might be analogous phenomena taking place on smaller scales within individual galaxies.


In 1948 Hermann Bondi (1919- ) a Viennese-born British cosmologist, in conjunction with Frederick Hoyle (1915- ) and Thomas Gold (1920- ), two British astronomers, proposed a concept they called the steady state theory. Their hypothesis was that as old galaxies disappear from the observable universe, new ones evolve from material created spontaneously where nothing had existed previously. The proponents of the concept gave no reasons for ignoring the old galaxies, apparently assuming that the disappearing galaxies would cease to exist, because otherwise the mass of the universe would progressively increase, which is contrary to the observed laws relating to the conservation of energy. Although the steady state theory was popular for a number of years, the concept has been abandoned because it has not been possible to answer several serious objections that were raised.


New discoveries


The most recent scientific investigations that have been carried out on the expansion of the universe are interesting, because they appear to exclude any possibility that either an oscillating or a steady state universe, similar to those envisaged in the theories outlined above, could exist. Two independent projects have found evidence that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. One project was carried out by Dr Brian Schmidt working with other astronomers of the Australian National University’s Mount Stromlo Observatory and the other by Dr Matthew Colless of the Australian National University working with scientists of the University of New South Wales, the Anglo-Australian Observatory near Coonabarabran and British scientists led by Professor George Afstathiou. In 1995 Dr Schmidt and his team began a study of supernovas, which are stars suffering an explosive death. During several years of observation they discovered that the more distant stars were fainter and therefore further away than their distances would be if calculated on the basis of standard parameters. In 1998 they reached the conclusion that the only explanation for the observed phenomenon is that the rate of expansion of the universe must be accelerating. In the other project five years were spent mapping the positions and velocities of 220,000 galaxies. The team then compared their results with microwave data that others had used to prepare a map of the universe 150,000 years after the big bang. When they had made the comparison Dr Colless announced early in 2002 that the universe could only have reached its present size if its rate of expansion has been accelerating. Thus an accelerating rate of expansion of the universe has been confirmed by two independent studies using completely different methods.


Commenting on these recent discoveries, Dr Colless remarked that as recently as 1998 astrophysicists were debating whether gravity could slow down the rate of expansion sufficiently to satisfy the requirements of the oscillating theory and cause the universe to collapse, or to satisfy the requirements of the steady state theory. The Australian and British scientists said they have not yet discovered the processes that are accelerating the expansion of the universe, which began with the big bang about 15,000 million years ago and apparently defies the known forces of gravity. Could this phenomenon be the result of dark forces related to the dark matter that is essential to make up the difference between the mass of the visible elements of the universe and the assessed total mass of the universe? Whatever the underlying causes may be, Dr Colless said that eventually the rate of acceleration will cause the more distant galaxies we can see now to move away faster than the speed of light, so that they will “disappear over the horizon”. He also said that most galaxies would vanish from our view in the long term, although the Milky Way and its nearest neighbours would continue to be held together by gravity and would seem to travel on alone. This new concept, that the rate of expansion of the universe will ultimately exceed the speed of light, has interesting connotations in relation to the conservation of energy and also in the context of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity discussed earlier and expressed by the equation E = mc² where c is the velocity of light.


The Hubble space telescope


A new era of space exploration was initiated when the Hubble space telescope was launched into orbit on the space shuttle Discovery in April 1990. The Hubble telescope orbits the earth at an altitude of 610 kilometres, where the light from distant galaxies is not obscured by the earth’s atmosphere, ensuring that its optical performance is many times better than can be achieved by any earth based instrument. Many important space projects require several years, often many years of observations and careful calculations to achieve results, but already the Hubble telescope has provided valuable data to assist our search into the origin and development of our universe. We cannot envisage what discoveries will be made in the future using this and other instruments not yet invented, but some details of a few of the recent discoveries will indicate the potential. In 1994 astronomers of Rice University in Texas were observing 110 young stars in the Orion Nebula, a cloud of interstellar gas about 1,500 light years from earth. The Hubble telescope produced pictures of amazing clarity, enabling astronomers to study how planets form from the huge discs of dust, the proto-planetary discs, surrounding at least half the stars being studied. Eventually that dust coagulates into the planets, moons and asteroids of a solar system.


During December 1995 the Hubble telescope was focused for ten consecutive days on a narrow sector of the sky, taking long-exposure photographs deeper into space than had ever before been possible. As a result, scientists have revised their estimates of the total galactic population to about 50 million, five times their previous estimate. Putting this into perspective, our sun is one of the estimated 50 billion to 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, which is considered to be an ordinary galaxy. While the Hubble telescope was focused on the centre of the Milky Way in 1997 it photographed a galactic giant called the Pistol Star, possibly once the biggest star in the universe. Estimated to have been 10 million times more powerful than our sun, the Pistol Star is still large enough to engulf our solar system beyond the orbit of the earth. Scientists estimate that it releases as much energy in six seconds as our sun does in a year. Sirius is the brightest star seen from earth, about 23 times brighter than the sun. The Pistol Star is 10 million times brighter than the sun, but cannot be seen with the naked eye because of interstellar dust.


Another mystery of the universe was revealed by the Hubble telescope in 2002, when it photographed what is called Hoag’s Object, which appears as a circle about 120,000 light years in diameter, compared to our ragged and roughly oval shaped Milky Way with a major axis of about 100,000 light years. The huge yellowish core of Hoag’s Object is about 30,000 light years in diameter and comprised of old yellow stars. The core is surrounded by an annulus that is about 20,000 light years wide, which astronomers believe is populated with clusters of stars fainter than even the Hubble telescope can detect. The core and annulus are surrounded by a brilliant corona about 35,000 light years wide, comprised of young hot blue stars. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology found a new body in the outer reaches of the Kuiper belt in June 2002 called Quaoar. It is about 1,250 kilometres in diameter, roughly half the size of Pluto and a third the size of our moon, the largest body discovered in the solar system since Pluto in 1930. It orbits the sun every 288 years, but little else is yet known about it.


The evolution of the earth


The period from when the earth came into existence about 4,500 million years ago until about 600 million years ago is the Cryptozoic Eon on the geological time scale, from the Greek words krupte and zoe meaning hidden life. Previously called Precambrian, it is equivalent to the period covered by the Biblical phrase "in the beginning". During this period the earth solidified and the first primitive life emerged. The geologically stable regions underlying the continents are called the Precambrian shields. Their formation began during the Archaeozoic Era from about 3,500 million years to 2,500 million years ago and continued into the Proterozoic Era that ended about 600 million years ago. These Eras are named from the Greek words arkhaois, proteros and zoe, which respectively mean ancient, former and life. The recent biological tests on prochloron cells which co-exist in the sea squirt, indicate that they contain all forms of chlorophyll and are descended from primeval photo-synthetic bacteria, possibly the earth's oldest living organism and dating from the beginning of the Archaeozoic Era.


On the geological time scale the 600 million years since the Proterozoic Era constitutes the Phanerozoic Eon, from the Greek words phaneros and zoe meaning visible life. The Phanerozoic Eon is subdivided into three eras. The oldest, lasting about 370 million years, was the Paleozoic Era, from the Greek word palaios meaning ancient. During the first 190 million years of the Paleozoic Era, called the Early Period, abundant marine life developed and ranged from worms, trilobites, sponges and coral to shellfish and primitive vertebrate fish. During the last 180 million years of the Paleozoic Era, called the Late Period, primitive plant life proliferated and vertebrate fish developed extensively. Some fish adapted to become amphibians, from which land-based reptiles evolved, including both the sail-back and mammal-like species. Then followed the intermediate or Mesozoic Era, from the Greek word mesos meaning middle, lasting about 170 million years. The Mesozoic Era was notable for the development of vast forests; flowering plants and a multitude of insect species; for herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs; for marine reptiles; for birds; and for the first primitive mammals about 190 million years ago. The Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras both closed with episodes of massive extinctions, including the dinosaurs and many other groups of marine and terrestrial reptiles.


The youngest or Cainozoic Era, in which we live, began about 60 million years ago and is named from the Greek word koinos meaning common. This is the period of recent life known as the "age of mammals", during which most modern birds and all of the marine and terrestrial animals that we know have evolved. The earliest primates began to evolve about the beginning of the present era and the earliest primitive anthropoids about 35 million years ago. However the greatest of all events in the present or Cainozoic Era was the emergence of modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, who most probably are descended from Homo erectus. The oldest known fossils of Homo sapiens in Africa date from 150,000 to 100,000 years ago and in Australia from 100,000 to 50,000 years ago. An interesting and informative coverage of the evolution of the earth is available in Harold Levin’s book entitled The Earth Through Time first issued in 1929, but updated editions include recent information on such aspects as tectonic plates, the origin of the continents and continental drift.


The evolution of human beings


Fossils of early anthropoids, monkeys and ape-like animals that were mostly tree dwellers, date from about 20 million years ago and have been found in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Skull fragments found in India in 1932 and comparable fragments discovered later in Kenya were named Ramapithecus. Because of their jaw and tooth structures they were thought to be an immediate ancestor of humans or possibly an early type of hominid, originally believed to have evolved at least 15 million and possibly 30 million years ago. However, genetic measurements that were made in the 1970s and 1980s, some using proteins and others using various forms of nucleic acid, all indicate that any divergence from apes to humans must have been about 5 million years ago, excluding Ramapithecus from the direct line of descent of modern humans. In 2002 a team led by Michel Brunet of the University of Poitiers announced the discovery of a 7 million years old skull, called Toumai, in the Djurab desert of northern Chad, which they claim is hominid, but experts around the world have disputed the claim for a variety of reasons so its origin has not been settled.


The earliest known hominids, the Australopithecines who had a more or less erect posture, lived from about 1,700,000 to 700,000 years ago. Their skeletal remains were first discovered in 1924 in limestone cliffs in Botswana, but since then many have been discovered in southern Africa, Ethiopia and Tanganyika. Although their brain was relatively small and their jaws ape-like, their pelvis and lower extremities closely resembled those of modern humans. "Lucy" is one of the well-known examples of the Australopithecines, found in the Afar Desert of Ethiopia in 1974. Donald Johanson, the American anthropologist who found the fossilised remains, maintains that "Lucy" was a true ancestor of modern humans, but this is hotly contested by Richard Leakey who, like his parents, is an expert on early humanity and has spent his life seeking and studying fossils in Africa.


Many of the fossil fragments unearthed by the Leakey family and their associates in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania during the 1960s are very similar to Australopithecus, but they have a larger brain and their face and teeth are more human-like, so they have been classified as members of a parallel branch called Homo habilis, meaning handy man. Many fossils since unearthed in Ethiopia and Kenya indicate that Homo habilis existed from about 2.5 million years ago until as recently as 1.5 million years ago. Because excavations at several of the fossil sites in Africa prove that members of the Homo habilis branch and the more recent Homo erectus branch co-existed, it is believed that Homo erectus may have evolved from Homo habilis. The first hominid to use fire and to migrate from Africa was Homo erectus, who lived in several areas in eastern and southern Africa from about 1.5 million years ago until as recently as about 500,000 years ago. Remains of Homo erectus found in caves near Beijing in China are accompanied by evidence of cooking fires and stone tools. After them were Homo sapiens, or wise man, who lived between 250,000 and 200,000 years ago, based on the ages of the oldest fossil found in the Thames Valley in England and the youngest fossil found at Steinheim in Germany. After that period there is a break in the fossil record until about 70,000 years ago.


Next to appear was Homo sapiens neanderthalenis, or Neanderthal man, who is known to have lived from at least 70,000 years ago until 40,000 years ago. The name Neanderthal combines Greek and German words literally meaning Newman's Valley, which is near Dusseldorf in Germany, where workers digging limestone in 1856 found bones of Neanderthals in one of the caves. They walked erect, lived in caves and closely resembled modern humans, but were shorter and stockier. They had heavy brow ridges, but their brain was as large as that of modern humans. Remains of Neanderthals have been found in various parts of Europe and also in northern Africa, as well as in western and central Asia.


The branches called Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens are considered to be either the direct ancestors of Homo sapiens sapiens, the modern humans, or to be very closely related. The earliest human remains identical with modern humans were found in Borneo and are 40,000 years old, while others 30,000 years old were found in New South Wales and 20,000 years old were found in France. However, it is believed that some of the very recent discoveries in New South Wales may be as old as 60,000 years. There is evidence of human occupation from 20,000 years ago in the Andes Mountains in South America, but as yet no human fossils of that age have been discovered there. The foregoing summary includes the well-known links in the chain of human evolution, but there are many more species that have appeared for longer or shorter periods, either as adaptations of or in parallel with them. Interesting books on human origins and evolution include The Making of Mankind by Richard Leakey and its sequel Origins Reconsidered by Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin prepared after another ten years work. Others are The Wisdom of Bones by Alan Walker and Pat Shipman and The Neanderthal Enigma by James Shreeve.


Anomalies of evolution


The foregoing summary of the evolution of human beings begins with the early anthropoids about 20 million years ago and continues through to the oldest known fossil remains that are similar to modern humans, which possibly are about 60,000 years old. This summary may give the impression that the chain of human evolution has been positively established, but it has not. In fact the known fossil records of modern humans are comparatively rare except in relation to the last 10,000 years or so. Whilst there are many similarities between humans and other anthropoids and there is clear evidence of human evolution, there is no conclusive proof that humans are descended from any other branch of anthropoids. The so-called "missing link" has never been found, if indeed there is one. An American scientist, Dr Richard Thompson, spent nine years investigating the orthodox theory that humans are descended from apes and has assembled a great deal of contrary evidence in his book entitled Forbidden Archaeology, written in collaboration with Michael Cremo.


Darwin's theory of evolution presupposes that known species have evolved from earlier species, adapting to suit changing conditions and the need to survive. In fact the available evidence indicates that most life in the animal kingdom burst into existence during the Cambrian Explosion about 500 million years ago, when the body structures and shapes of the various species were established. Species seem to have come into existence suddenly, then to have existed sometimes briefly and sometimes for millions of years without change. Some species have abruptly passed into extinction while others still exist. The fossil records show very little structural change in any given species, even when it has continued in existence for tens of millions of years. Many closely similar species have existed concurrently throughout the fossil record, so why should humans be any different? It seems most likely that humans also have existed concurrently with other anthropoids since they came into existence, as they do now.


There is no apparent or logical reason why humans should have evolved from apes. Fossil and archaeological evidence indicates that the evolutionary changes that have taken place in human beings have not been paralleled in the apes, from which humans supposedly descended in order to survive. A good example is the fact that the size of an ape's brain has remained unchanged for millions of years, whereas the human brain has progressively grown larger. Humans have developed speech, but apes have not. The structure and operation of the windpipe and gullet of a human being are not like those of an ape, but are similar to those of an aquatic mammal! Although few human bones have been found in the fossil evidence, this does not necessarily indicate that human beings have not existed for many millions of years. The archaeological evidence indicates that even in prehistoric times humans have buried their dead, which suggests that their fossilised bones would seldom if ever be found with other fossilised remains.


Notwithstanding the foregoing comments, bones judged to be human have been found embedded in coal that is estimated to be more than 280 million years old. Several artefacts considered to be of undoubted human origin have been found in various localities embedded in rock and in coal ranging in age from 260 million to 387 million years. Fossilised footprints, identical to those of modern humans, have been found among dinosaur footprints in strata that are between 110 million and 250 million years old at several sites in America and in strata about 4 million years old in Tanzania. Michael Baigent reviews these discoveries in Ancient Mysteries, sub-titled A History through Evolution and Magic, indicating that humans have existed for tens of millions of years longer than is generally believed. The evidence presented in Forbidden Archaeology and Ancient Mysteries supports the hypothesis that humans have always coexisted with other anthropoids.


The superstructure


A belief in the Divine Creator is the foundation of freemasonry, in which the universe is considered to be the visible superstructure of the Divine Creator’s domain. Astronomy, historical geology, palaeontology and the associated sciences have found conclusive evidence of evolution in the inanimate universe and in all forms of life inhabiting the earth. Modern estimates show the universe to be about 15,000 million years old and the earth about 4,500 million years old. The primeval bacteria-like cell, prochloron, appeared on earth about 3,500 million years ago and vertebrates have been evolving over the last 500 million years, but modern humans only have a proven existence of less than 100,000 years. Nevertheless, scientific studies have shown that humans are linked by structural similarities and body chemistry to the primeval lungfish, to the prosimian shrews that were the precursors of the primate order and also to the ice-age hunter-gatherers. The evolution of the universe and of life on earth has been traced in some detail, but the creation of matter has not yet be explained in rational terms and is still as great mystery as ever.


Acceptance of the evolutionary theory of the universe does not obviate the fundamental requirement that matter must have been created as a catalyst for the primeval explosion referred to as the big bang, because it is not rational to assume that matter materialised spontaneously from empty space. Both time and space must also have been created in which matter could exist. These factors all support the concept of a Divine Creator. The complexities involved in creating the big bang and the subsequent processes of evolution require at least as much omniscience and omnificence of a Divine Creator as would the creation of all things their final form. These factors and our continuing inability to discover the source and ultimate purpose of life, strongly suggest that there must be some hidden purpose in the creation, beyond the present scope of human knowledge and comprehension. All of these aspects sustain a belief that there is an intimate union between the Divine spirit and the human soul. Thus cosmology is seen to uphold rather than to extinguish the precepts of freemasonry.

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