Thursday, November 19, 2009

Creation and evolution are the same story

I post again, a quick note on the creation myth. Roman Catholics believe that their theology must align with the discoveries of science - hence they do not believe the creation myths (yes there are two) in Genesis to be literally true. However I was recently struck by how close to evolution they are.

The parallel is strong between the order of creation and the sequence of evolution. I won't bore you with the detail but check it out if you want.

So if the bible did have the right story why did it not tell it right? Perhaps because it would have been hard to get the complexities of genetics across to a people who were yet to come to terms with the earth being round or to discover Newtonian physics.

Hamba kahle


Neil Turton said...

Hi Akakiwibear,

Long time no see. I hope you're well.

Yes, there is a parallel between the sequence of the creation story and that of evolution. You do have to overlook a few blunders though. What I'd like to know is why you think it's significant given that Genesis is not literally true.

In the lists below, I use the word "and" to join things together with no clear ordering. I use a comma to separate things which have a clear ordering.

Order in Genesis: Earth and water, light, firmament/sky/heaven, dry land, grasses and trees, sun and moon and stars, fish and birds, cattle and creeping things and beasts, mankind.

Order in Science: Light, stars, sun, earth and sky and dry land, water and moon, bacteria, fish, creeping things, trees, beasts (or later on?), birds, grasses, cattle, mankind.

The thing which struck me as I was producing this list is that the language of the Bible is quite vague and it would be possible to impose order on it which was not intended by the author(s). To an extent, the lists above represent guesswork.

Take the word "beasts" for example. That could mean "land animals" or "horses and donkeys". That leaves it open for the Bible advocate to define it in the best way to best suit their cause. I think it's best to be honest and say we don't know where "beasts" goes. I've put it in to show the earliest it could have been.

There are also reasons for expecting the ancients to get the order right for common sense reasons. It makes sense to create the environment before creating the the objects which exists in that environment. For example, create the sea before creating the fish. That makes logical sense. That back-fired when they had the sky created first and the sun, moon and stars afterward.

Anyway, looking at the two lists above, I don't think the parallel is strong.

Cheers, Neil.

akakiwibear said...

Hi Neil, welcome back.

It was an observation that piqued my interest. I agree the parallel is not that good, but ...

... when you consider that it was oral tradition brought into the Jewish scriptures around 500BC(?) it is interesting that it bears any resemblance to the scientific version at all.

... given that chapters 1-11 of genesis are generally recognised as legend I was interested by the quality of the legend

... when viewed from an earth reference point the reversal of order of light and earth/water sun/moon etc takes on a different perspective

... plus how could the parts of the legend prior to man have become part of the oral tradition? It suggest some deductive skill by those who developed the legend

... Compare for instance some of the other creation myths where there is little if any commonality with science.

I am not implying or suggesting any proof here, just musing.

hamba kahle - peace

Guitarman said...

I have trouble with ark story but I think we all agree that we did not evolve from a small mole like mammal or a rock as the big bangers would have us believe. I recently read where they have traced every human beings DNA back to 1 couple.

Onion said...

After seeing Emmerichs 2012 version of what he would have done if he were God...I'm finding the Bible account much more believable than ever before. Ironicly the older I get...especially with children and grandchildren...the more 'logical' the story usually means it isn't true.

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akakiwibear said...

Hi All, my sincere apologies for neglecting your comments for so long, but I am back in the real world again and hope to be posting something a little more substantial again.

Certainly the first 10 chapters of Genesis are recognised as myth - so why were they included in the bible in the first place (between about AD 150 and 400? Even prior to Darwin the early church had some problems with the literal truth of Gen 1-10.

The Bible is a source document (arguable the most important single source) of systematic theology, so we should accept that there are wisdoms to be inferred from the early chapters of Genesis. It is generally agreed that the doctrine of creation ex nihilo - that God created all things out of nothing - is taught implicitly rather than explicitly in Scripture.

I posted my casual observation regarding the parallels between the creation myth and current scientific thinking as a teaser. If you are really interested in “Creationism & the Early Church” I suggest which is worth a read .

Onion, as I too get older things seem both clearer and more complex. More clarity that there is a God and a recognition that the more I think I know, the more complex God seems to be. Yes a ‘head’ vs ‘heart’ position and one that certainly this leads me to the view that all religion is a vehicle on a journey, not the destination.

Hamba kahle - peace