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The Biblical Creation Report and Science

English > Fields of Research > Genesis Interpretation

P.Rüst (2010), an attempt to describe in a simple way the relationship between the biblical text and science, in order to help parents and teachers, in particular, to explain the creation narrative to their young people in a meaningful way, somewhat extended, 14 p.
http://www.aneste.ch/files/CreRepSci+.pdf (346 kB)
or text only, without pictures, 13 p.
http://www.aneste.ch/files/CreRepSci.pdf (140 kB)

Translated from the German original: P.Rüst (2010),
"Der biblische Schöpfungsbericht und die Wissenschaft",
manuscript, 13 p.

Contents:

1. The prejudice of warfare between science and the bible
2. Harmonization - a necessary alternative
3. The key - responsibility in accordance with creation
4. Statements and their interpretations
5. The heavens and the earth - one day
6. The light and its development
7. Water, air, and land animals after their kind
8. Humanity
9. The sabbath - the creation report as a family tree
10. Adam not the first human being

The biblical text is
neither a fairy tale
nor a science textbook


It requires
neither warfare between
faith and science
nor mythologization

- Many believe the bible to teach a creation in 6 days. Depending on their world view, they reject either the bible or science, or they read ancient myths into the biblical text. Despite these extremely different standpoints, they usually agree in considering the biblical text to be incompatible with science.

- This prejudice of a faith war has very serious consequences for those affected by it, particularly young people. Most then reject the biblical gospel as soon as they are confronted with the realities of the evolution of the universe and of life, or they give up, becoming consumers of a choose-what-you-like religiosity. The consistent alternative to the warfare model is a non-anachronistic harmonization of the bible and science.

- The key for this lies in the unbounded love of God, combined with freedom and responsibility for humans, and the flexibility of all languages. Ambiguity of linguistic expression allows prophecy without anachronisms or logical pressure. Due to the redundancy of the essential revelations, one can find saving faith without understanding everything.


- The claim of disposing of the only-correct interpretation of a text is always an illusion. The examples "expanse"/"firmament" and "created"/"made" from the creation report illustrate two kinds of possible alternatives in text interpretation. Such linguistically given ambiguities may provide the possibility that a text may in fact be interpretable in accordance with both ancient world views and accepted science of any later time.

- Specifically, the creation report provides possibilities of harmonization on the basis of the different uses of concepts like beginning, heaven, earth, day. A period-day interpretation of the creation days can result in a consistent narrative compatible with scientific findings, but without "teaching" such.

- The light of the first "day" came from the sun already existing then, producing the distinction between day and night sides of the earth, then, on the third "day" the development of vegetation to produce oxygen, which made it possible that beginning with the forth "day", the heavenly bodies became visible from the earth's surface, serving animals and humans as temporal and geographic markers.


- Animals were created, blessed, and filled the oceans. As to their bodies, they were the products of a long lasting evolution, but their sentient dimension was novel. The first flying animals were insects. The terrestrial animals arising later inherited sentiency and blessing from their ancestral water animals. The appearance according to their kinds doesn't designate independent origins but, on the contrary, descent from earlier kinds by means of biological speciation and evolution.

- God prepared humanity as to bodily and sentient dimensions by means of a developmental process out of pre-existing hominids, in order to then create them by means of providing them with the spiritual dimension. He gave them a new blessing, with the commission to care for the creation as his vice regents. Through a special sanctification of sexuality, he made marriage a symbol of his own love relationship to his people and of the unity of Christ with his church.


- At the transition of the narrative to Adam's story in the seventh "day", the creation report of the first six "days" is literally named "generations" ("toledot"), i.e. sequence of descent, family tree, or history of origins. in all other occurrencies, the term designates lines of descent, family trees, or tables of nations with gaps or missing lines, just as with phylogenetic trees in biology.


- On the basis of context, Adam cannot have lived at the time of the first modern humans who bore God's image. That there must have been genuine humans before Adam is confirmed by the symmetrical construction of Genesis 2:4, which points to the transition of the narrative from the creation report to later, local events. It is also attested to by the systematic avoidance of explicit identification of Adam with the first humans in the entire biblical context. Creation and evolution are two aspects of the same history of the world; behind all natural processes stands the Creator, who holds everything in his hand.

Creation and evolution
are two aspects of the same events:
the Creator stands behind all natural processes,
he has everything in his hand.

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Last updated Okt 17 2011 | paraske@aneste.ch

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