"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, August 12, 2005

Genesis Sui Generis

Did I just hear someone say (see comments to my piece below about the Nightline debate) that if you believe in strict interpretation of Genesis species don't change over time? Where does it say something like that in Genesis?

Quite the contrary. The Book of Genesis is a shockingly counterintuitive religious document in that it specifically announces in its second sentence that God did not create a finished world at once. Instead He began with some kind of primordial matter and then began a staged process, including stages separated by time, of bringing it to completion.

In fact, the very first question that any serious student of the Bible asks is: why would an omnipotent Creator choose NOT to create all at once?

As to the creation of Man, it says specifically that he was fashioned out of some primal component of the Earth itself. If you ever stop to think about how shockingly this runs counter to the simple unscientific religious impulse you will get an inkling of just how subtly sound a philosophical work the Bible is - and it might just give you a clue why most of the smartest people in history have believed it and been moved by it to inspiration and passion.

9 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Thanks for that, Jay. I've gained much wisdom and understanding from those who know there's more to Judaism than the funny hats, the funky food and the Hanukkah Bush.

That America's understanding of the Judeo-Christian intellectual tradition has been reduced to the TV evangelist caricature is all our faults, I think. They think we worship some sort of comic book. Time to get to work.

Kathy Hutchins said...

They think we worship some sort of comic book.

Worship, no. Venerate, maybe.

Hunter Baker said...

One of the finest presentations I ever saw by a religious speaker was by an Orthodox Jew of the Lubavitch persuasion at my law school. He came in and set the class on fire. His learning was clearly great and deserved great respect. Afterwards, he dived into a crowd of students wanting to argue with him. He was intense and ready to deal with anything.

It doesn't relate to the ID/Genesis topic so much other than to say that Jay reminded me of it.

Kathy Hutchins said...

And now, trying to rein in my congenital flippancy: In the Beginning, by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) is an excellent short introduction to Catholic exegesis of the creation story in Genesis.

Kathy Hutchins said...

As to the creation of Man, it says specifically that he was fashioned out of some primal component of the Earth itself.

Doesn't the name Adam itself mean "earth" or "dust" in Hebrew?

Jay D. Homnick said...

Yes, Adama is the word for the ground and the text explains that this was the basis for his name. Adom is the word for red, signifying blood, "and the blood is the spirit".

In this way, both the earthly and the spiritual component of Man are incorporated in the name.

James Elliott said...

Yes, Adama is the word for the ground

And also the name of the commander of the Battlestar Galactica...

Ed Darrell said...

Gee. Now if you could only convince the "intelligent design" advocates, you'd be making progress.

Tlaloc said...

"Did I just hear someone say (see comments to my piece below about the Nightline debate) that if you believe in strict interpretation of Genesis species don't change over time? Where does it say something like that in Genesis?"

Dude. Genesis 2:19:
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof.

All the animals already existed in their final form for adam to sit there and name as God caused them to stroll on by.



"Quite the contrary. The Book of Genesis is a shockingly counterintuitive religious document in that it specifically announces in its second sentence that God did not create a finished world at once. Instead He began with some kind of primordial matter and then began a staged process, including stages separated by time, of bringing it to completion."

None of which matters to a literalist because it also says god created all the animals on the sixth day, after creating adam.

Why am I having to explain the basic christian mythos to christians?