Theology of Creation

29 Aug

This comes off the back of some comments I made on the Ugley Vicar blog and I thought, rather than leaving it in a blog comments section I would actually make a blog of it. Momentum blogs to follow on after.

 

Creation

 

First off, I recognise that there are 2 stories of Creation. Second, I believe that God is unchanging and that because He says that incest is wrong at a later point in the Bible (Leviticus and Deuteronomy) that it is wrong eternally (though some would argue differently, and it is a very thought-provoking argument that they make) and so Cain and Seth need wives from somewhere.

My understanding of the first creation story is that it’s not 6 consecutive days of creation, necessarily. They could, quite easily, have been millions of years apart. Equally, because God is so amazing, they could have been consecutive. Interestingly, though no one ever seems to think this idea out loud, each day could have lasted FAR longer than 24 hours! However it happened doesn’t really matter for salvation, but my belief is that God created and used evolution as His tool (there is too much evidence of things that aren’t around now and time passing to claim Young World Theory holds water) and that the bits where God says “Let there be…” is God dictating the next stage of creation. After all, how do the cells know they need to mutate to form the next stage of evolution without guidance?

The second creation story is about the creation of a relationship as much as it is about the created order. We see God creates man and is in relationship with him. God then creates Eve and is then in relationship with both of them. I believe that Eden could have been created anywhere between the first and last point of the first creation story, and could have either been spread out at the same points as the first or created all at the same time (after all, if God knows how it’s going to turn out then He can set it up any time He wants, given that Eden is separate from the rest of the world). When Adam and Eve are kicked out of Eden they join with the rest of creation, giving Cain and Seth possible wives that are not related to them.

Just to add to my comment about Young World Theory, the Bible does not say how long Adam is on his own for before God created Eve, nor does it say how long they were in Eden before the serpent tempted Eve and they got kicked out. It could have been hours, it could have been eons. It doesn’t say. The evidence would suggest that they could have been in Eden for some time.

Now, as to why I take Genesis literally, I believe that there are 2 very good reasons to take it literally. The first is that if you say that it isn’t really to be taken literally then where do you stop? Do you stop at Noah and say everything after is true? Why stop there? Why not say that everything up to Abraham, or maybe even Moses? And in the space of 3 logical jumps we have just dismissed any historic truth from the whole of Genesis. But why stop there? After all, if we can scrub 1 book that easily then why not others? After all, surely at least 1 of these so-called prophets was just hearing voices. And did the walls of Jericho REALLY come tumbling down? And so on. In the end we are left with a shell of the Bible, most of it being “useful guides on how to live and stories that explain what can happen if you do or don’t follow them”. There are bits that are obviously not to be taken as history, but that is because the Bible itself says they are not. Psalms, for example, clearly say what they are. The same with the wisdom books and the prophets (at least the prophetic bits) etc are not saying what happened (although the prophetic bits did happen, in that the prophecies were spoken) and they say what they are. But the Bible does not, as any point, say “This is not to be taken literally” of any part of the Pentateuch.

My second reason for taking Genesis literally is that it is never said not to be taken literally in the New Testament. Even Jesus, who you would think would be in the know on such matters, never corrected anyone on taking it literally. Indeed, both gospels that mention Jesus’ genealogy go at least as far back as Abraham and 1 gets all the way back to Adam. Adam and Eve are mentioned in the NT and nowhere does it say “Adam and Eve, who by the way weren’t real people…” or anything to that effect.

Finally, EVEN IF we were to take all of Genesis out of the equation for proof of how God created everything, Exodus 20 still stands. Unless people deny that God spoke to Moses, or say that Moses chiselled the first tablets wrong and then God made the same mistake with the second batch we are left with the Lord God Almighty Himself declaring that He created the world in 6 days and then took a rest on the 7th. The only way that this can be ignored is if you deny it happened (because, let’s face it, the mistake option is flawed from the start!) and then you deny the very foundation from which Jewish law originates (and thus our own).

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