Friday, October 12, 2012

Genesis 1 and Science

What are your thoughts on this presentation?
(HT: Jesus Creed)


rolf said...

I thought that was well done. I thought that the observation of why the sun and moon were not made until the fourth day was very interesting.

Jason Engel said...

It's very refreshing to see people discussing Genesis as a rich theological story revealing multiple layers of meaning and culture, rather than the all-too-common record of literal fact.

Jonny said...

The question about the interpretation of the creation stories in Genesis is not new, nor does it have its origin in scientific theories.

The question about science and the creation story is a contradiction in and of itself! Yes, God's creation is normally governed according to natural processes that we measure with what we call "science", but God is not limited to our measure! The obvious truth often overlooked is that no one knows, much less can prove how and when the world was created.

We are not bound, as Catholics, to view the first 11 chapters of Genesis literally, and are encouraged to see the symbolism therein. That does not exclude the possibility that the symbolism could very well extend to real events in the creation of the spiritual and physical realms.

I think it is sad that the views on Genesis are so often pigeon-holed into "all literal", or "scientifically worthless fairy tale"... and either side thinks the other are closed minded buffoons! Is there no middle ground?

If you want to see the Genesis creation narratives treated with the respect and benefit of the doubt that they deserve as the inspired word of God, read the commentary in the Haydock Bible.

I know that everyone will not completely agree on every little detail of Bible interpretation, but please don't forget that the deepest mysteries of our Faith... yes, the deepest, and most profound mysteries of our Faith! are rooted in the fact that the works of God are infinity beyond "science", and are positively supernatural!

ThisVivian said...

I find it a good presentation, although I don't believe there's anything in it I've not been exposed to before.

I'm a six-day creationist, as I've said before, and I still take Genesis as being a rich theological story in addition - all senses of Scripture exist, and their foundation is the literal-historical (or as Protestant exegetes have it, the "historico-grammatical"). I believe it was St Basil who said in his Hexaemeron (and was echoed by Athanasius in his passage on "ascent by steps" which is often torn out of context by those who believe in the reconciliation of evolutionary hypotheses and the Genesis creation account), and echoed by most other of the fathers (except for Augustine, whose interpretation of Genesis is often at variance with the patristic consensus), that, paraphrased, "What do we have, if we do not have the literal? The Ark may be a symbol of the Church; but it also was a boat; against the allegorizers and mythologizers, we affirm what is recorded in the words of Scripture is historical; but also that it is typological, etc., and that the typology is founded upon the historical event."

Or words to that effect. A modern catena after the mediaeval fashion on the Patristic interpretation of Gen 1-3 is "Genesis, Creation, and Early Man: An Orthodox Christian Vision" by ROCOR Hieromonk Seraphim Rose ("The Guy Who Taught the Toll-Houses").

Many conservative Protestants have the historicity without the typology and theology and symbolism; many liberal Protestants (and Catholics) have the symbolism and theology without the historicity. What is needed is both the historicity and the theology, as they enhance each other greatly - far from being mutually exclusive or incompatible.

In the Catholic Church, we are not required to be theistic evolutionists, nor six-day creationists, but are allowed to be either (or both! or neither!); as long as we adhere to the three dogmata of origins (creation ex nihilo, real first parents Adam and Eve who committed the original sin, and special creation of the human/humanity/human soul at conception), Catholics are given to wide-ranging interpretations, disagreement, and theological debate and diversity (what the Orthodox call theologoumena, or theological opinions) ranging from strict six-day creationism, to theistic evolution, and everything in-between (admittedly, most Catholics I know are theistic evolutionists, and I caught/catch flack in the seminary for my six-day creationism).

The only origins theories that are not permitted to the faithful are those that are atheistic in character, such as the modern Darwinian synthesis - secular, etc. This is refreshing, compared to Fundamental Protestants, who raise six-day creationism to a Dogma of the Faith, and others, who either don't disagree because they don't care, or have forgotten God's role altogether.

ThisVivian said...

I also echo Jonny; I believe (and this is rare for me), I agree with mostly everything he wrote.

Amfortas said...

Golly, a six-day creationist and a Catholic. we don't get many of those on this side of the Atlantic (UK).

ThisVivian said...

We don't get many of them on this side of the Atlantic (USA) either!

ThisVivian said...

I'll also add, I found out the other day in reading the Canons of the Councils, that there may be a fourth dogma of Creation that is not often grouped with the others in what I have read: creation "ab initio temporis" (at or from the beginning of time), from the Canons of Lateran IV and Vatican I.

Creation ex nihilo does not necessarily imply a temporal beginning, and creation ab initio temporis does not necessarily imply ex nihilo, although they both at least suggest the other.