Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Genesis: A Story Just for Ancient People?

Wolfgan Sailler of Salem, Oregon recently posted this comment/opinion on Genesis:

While I claim no special knowledge in the related sciences, natural or spiritual, it seems to me that the biblical story of Genesis is just that — a story told to an ancient people.

True, we are made of clay/earthly elements, so to speak, but there is too much evidence around to believe that everything present in the universe came into existence 5,000 years ago in literally seven days. If we equate one day with a billion years, that seems more like it.

Be that as it may, but everybody can see proof of some form of evolution/evolvement in their very own existence: We came from one cell and during nine months of gestation, went through every stage of life form evolutionary teaching claims. Only once out of the birth canal do we turn into true terrestrians when we take our first breath.

Considering scientific evidence is not to be equated with negating God or creation. It simply tries to find more logical and details underpinnings than a simple story can relate.

Mr. Sailler admits to having no special knowledge in the fields he has identified and should be thanked for his honesty. I'll take a Mr. Sailler over a self-proclaimed expert any day! He may not be an expert in science and religion, (he's in finance, actually), but his comment reveals a great deal about the general perception of Genesis and therefore is worthy of consideration.

Let us consider Mr. Sailler's points one by one.

Is Genesis just a story told to ancient people? That isn't what experts believe nor is this what Genesis claims to be. In fact, Genesis is many stories involving different peoples, but all of them Afro-Asiatics. There are 2 creation stories, quite different in focus, detail and cultural context. The same is true for the 2 floods stories. What we find in Genesis is certain promises that appear to have taken shape in history and these promises are not just for ancient people.

This leads us logically to the next point: Does Genesis say that everything that in the universe was created in 6 consequentive 24-hour days? If Genesis makes promises about things to be fulfilled in the future, than we can't claim that the work of the Creator ceased on the sixth day.

Genesis claims that the universe is a creation, and that the Creator creates what is "good" in an orderly fashion. It also presents the belief that the order of creation is fixed, unchanging and ultimately irreversible. That is why the Church Fathers taught that humans, having been made in the "image of God" can never fully erase the divine image.

Finally, there is nothing in the whole Bible that speaks of the universe or the earth as being only 5000 years old. Indeed the Bible provides reliable informaton for researchers to date many historical events in the ancient Near East and Africa that took place well before 5000 years ago.

Does the development of the human fetus prove that humans evolved from sub-human species? No more than the development of the elephant fetus proves that elephants evolved from sub-elephant species. Genesis portrays the growth, change and development to which Mr. Saillers points when it speaks of plants and creatures producing fruit of their own kinds. It is also evident that while plants can cross-pollinate to produce hybrids in nature, such is not true of humans.

Does holding a evolutionary view required rejection of a Creator? Of course not! But, on the other hand, macro-evolution is the only view to which atheists can subscribe since it permits replacing the Creator with the mechanism of evolution (something Darwin never claimed to do).

Is science more logical than Genesis? Best to answer that hypothetical question with the flip of a coin! Genesis presents an extremely orderly universe and an anthropologically truthful picture of humanity; more orderly and truthful than some scientific reports describing evolution and the origins of modern humans.

Mr. Sailler is correct that Genesis is a testament of an ancient people. To be specific, it is the work of the Afro-Asiatics, people who thought in a very orderly and logical manner as evidenced by the binary distinctions that frame their worldview.

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