Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Last Two Questions

Finally, here are the answers to the last two questions posed back at the beginning of the year. These last two have several things in common. First, they are theological or biblical in nature; they deserve a serious answer; I sought the wisdom of others to ensure accurate answers.

Question #1 from Offspring #2
Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?
(I happen to know that this question has plaqued Offspring #2 for quite a while. Hopefully this will put all suspicions to rest.)

“No - Adam didn't. Neither did Eve.”

Why? Because your belly-button is a sign that you were once attached to your mother. You depended on that life-line—the umbilical cord—for your nourishment from her body as you developed inside her.

But our first parents, Adam and Eve, didn't develop that way. God would not have planted on them a false indication that they had developed in a mother's womb.

When God created Adam and Eve in mature form, the day they were created they might have appeared to be, say, 30 years old. But God wouldn't want or need to create the appearance of a false history, any more than the mature trees created by God would have had growth rings initially. Those are things which would develop in their offspring as a result of processes later on.

What's more, this would be a tremendous testimony to God's creativity. Ken Ham once put it this way: Lack of a belly-button on Adam and Eve would be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the pre-Flood world, as the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren would come up and say, “Why don't you have a belly-button?” And they could recount again and again, to generation after generation, how God had created them special by completed supernatural acts, and yet had designed them to multiply and fill the Earth in natural ways that are equally a part of God's continuing care for what He created.

“…the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground… And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
-Genesis 2:7,21-22

Question #2 from Weber
Please engage in a little time travel as we are now approaching Lent!

Since we are approaching Epiphany, here is a Magi question. Legend says that there were three of these gentlemen named Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar. However, the Bible does not mention them by name. In fact it does not mention there were three of them; just that there were three gifts. So where did the names Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar come from?

"Most of what we associate with the "Magi" is from early church traditions. Most have assumed there were three of them, since they brought three specific gifts (but the Biblical text doesn't number them). They are called "Magi" from the Latinized form of the Greek word magoi, transliterated from the Persian, for a select sect of priests. (Our word "magic" comes from the same root.)

As the years passed, the traditions became increasingly embellished. By the 3rd century they were viewed as kings. By the 6th century they had names: Bithisarea, Melichior, and Gathaspa. Some even associated them with Shem, Ham and Japheth--the three sons of Noah--and thus with Asia, Africa, and Europe. A 141h century Armenian tradition identifies them as Balthasar, King of Arabia; Melchior, King of Persia; and Gasper, King of India.

(Relics attributed to them emerged in the 4th century and were transferred from Constantinople to Milan in the 5th century, and then to Cologne in 1162 where they remain enshrined.) "

I did have to research the answer to this question. After reading several different sources, I decided that the explanation in wikipedia did the best job of a concise presentation so I stole this from them.

I have indeed been to the cathedral in Cologne where the relics of the Magi are enshrined. Unfortunately, the pictures I took were before I had a digital camera and I have no idea where the prints are. Obviously I am not an advocate of scrapbooking.

As an aside, when we were visiting many of the cathedals of Europe and seeing the relics of various saints, etc., the same child who wanted to know about Adam and Eve's belly buttons chimed in with, "Don't they keep a whole person any where?" She was six at the time.

Thanks again to all of you who played along with me. Now I must award the winners and their prizes. Winners will be announced soon. You must be present to win.