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January 19, 2007

Comments

Monica

funny thing, I've looked for that too for a few different people and always had a hard time finding it as well. THanks for the extra link. I think I was searching on 'creation' rather than 'genesis'.

pseudomodo

Jimmy are you going to explain Gerald Schroeder's relativistic interpretation soon?

Russ

I found the search box on this blog doesn't work like expected. The other day I searched for "Coke" so I could see the inside of Jimmy's fridge and the search found nothing.

But the post was still there under diet.

Hmmmmm.

Barbara

I find it easier to do a google search on the topic name +"Jimmy Akin"

Karen

A search tip to perhaps spread around:

For better searching, use Google and put a phrase into quotes which you are certain the article, or someone's comment, contained, and also use the "site" function.

For example, if you'd type into a Google search form the following:

site:jimmyakin.org keywords "key phrase in quotes"

you get much better results than Typepad's search function here gives. Notice there's no space between site: and the URL of the site.

Hope that's helpful. I just google sites now; lots of forums and blogs don't have very good search functions.

Monica

thanks, Karen. I knew one Could do that, I just didn't know How.

Abe Vagoda

Does anyone other than the Holy Ghost know when the Motu Proprio on the Classical Rite mass will be promulgated?
I realize that this is not in keeping with the consistency of the above posting,but I am going nuts waiting for its release.
God bless you.

WRY

Hmm, what about the 'allegorical' interpretation? Might not be the best choice of words, but couldn't the 'six days' refer in part to concepts rather than actual 'things'?
For instance, God creates light before the sun. Problem. But not if 'light' is read, not as 'physical, real light,' say, but maybe 'goodness,' like the 'light of Christ' for example.
In other words, God creates 'light' - goodness, maybe, or enlightenment, maybe, fullness of truth, maybe -- and sets it apart from 'darkness' - the foresdhadowing of satan's fall, everything that is 'not-light.'
Just wondering. Didn't the church fathers interpret biblical passages like this? The things described stand for spiritual concepts. That makes them no less real - nay, more real since Heaveb is our true home.

WRY

sorry, "Heaven."

Fr Martin Fox

Jimmy:

A very good account of various ways to approach Genesis 1.

I would offer the following thoughts, to tantalize:

1. There are not two accounts of Creation, as commonly supposed, but one -- the account in the garden is, as you say, a "zooming in" on part of the story.

2. You may note that there are two words used (I am not a Hebrew scholar), one translated "create" and one translated "made." In the first chapter it uses "create"; in the second chapter, the story of the garden, it uses "made." As one of the profs in the seminary, who teaches Genesis pointed out, "create" implies time, whereas "made" does not.

3. The story of the garden does seem to be outside of time, where clearly in the cosmic-creation story, elements of time are introduced, about mid-way.

4. Our seminary professor argued that in fact, the events in the garden are outside time -- i.e., it is the fall, and the exit from the garden, that brings humanity from Paradise into the world of knowledge of good and bad, the world of time, the world we know. And it is these events that explain the subtle shift, between the 3rd and 4th days. This is when time begins (with the sun and moon), and also when God stops naming things -- perhaps because Adam will do that (he named the animals in the garden).

5. By the end of the sixth day, we have made a transition from a place of chaos to a world we recognize. The last to be introduced into the world of time is humanity.

6. Of course, this presupposes an interpretation of the story of the garden, as well -- namely, the garden as a place out of time; which may explain why we can't find the Garden of Eden; and really, we shouldn't expect to. Because the knowledge of good and bad means exiting this place. The fruit of that tree was not evil, but good (see 2:9), as was all God created; but the choice to eat of it was evil.

Two more points:

7. Note that the passage shows an ending to each day, but the last: the seventh day never ends (tells against reading these "days" in the conventional sense).

8. God does not expel the human couple from the Garden, he shows them on their way. The verb used at the end of chapter 3 is the same of 18:16, where Abraham was walking with the heavenly visitors (on their way to Sodom), "to see them on their way" -- i.e., Abraham does not "expel" them!

God is not "angry" at the couple, he is grieved; and he provides for them by clothing them. His words to them, after the sin, are not curses (he does curse the serpent), but rather, he explains the consequences, which include both good and bad: "in pain (bad) shall you bring forth children" (good) ... "In toil (bad) shall you eat its yield (good) all the days of your life."

The best proof that Adam and Eve are not simply receiving curses from God is in how they respond, when God finishes speaking to them -- or rather, how they do not respond: they do not wail and cry and lament; rather, note what it says:

"The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living." Hmm, what was he thinking about at just that moment? He's thinking of one of the good things that results from the fruit -- sex and chilbirth!

The tree of knowledge of good and bad disappears, but the tree of life does not; it makes several reappearances throughout Scripture.

Some read the reference to the cherubim with the "fiery, revolving sword" as meaning God wanted to keep them from the tree. Yes and no. They couldn't reach for the tree of life yet -- because of their sin; but note: "he stationed the cherubim...to guard the way to the tree of life."

I submit he wanted the couple to find their way back, and the cherubim serve to mark the way (why else a "flaming, revolving" sword? What purpose does that serve? Perhaps to be more visible in darkness?)

After all, the author or editor of these first few chapters is likewise the author/editor of the rest of the Pentateuch -- the story of humanity getting farther from the garden -- such that where humanity was so fruitful and long-living, but eventually finds itself barren (with Abram and Sarai); and God keeps coming after man and calling him back.

pseudomodo

Gerald Schroeder has a very good hypothesis that he ties to the Torah. Worth reading.

Looking back in time to the creation we see 15 billion years. But this is really the 6 days of creation stretched out by the expansion of the universe. Genesis looks at it from the space/time coordinates of the creation. We look at it from the space/time coordinates of the present time. Most physicists will give you an expansion factor of the universe. Multiply this by 6 days and you get 15 billion years. No apparent conflict!!


http://www.geraldschroeder.com/age.html

Nutcrazical

Maybe my mind works in a funky way, but I don't see a problem with light being created before the sun. Maybe God created light, and then decided to create big rocks and give the light to them, and called them "sun" and "stars".

What I do see a problem with is the concept of "day" being introduced before the sun is even created. But the Day-Age Interpretation explains that away.

Something to consider... doesn't mass distort time?

Leo

Thanks Jimmy.

Proper *pre-Darwinian* interpretations of Genesis 1 stop us misreading the authors' intentions as scientific. It is a pity that a vociferous minority of Christians give ammunition to people like Richard Dawkins.

Saint Augustine's words seem so fresh...

"On interpreting the mind of the sacred writer. Christians should not talk nonsense to unbelievers.

...

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience.

Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books.

For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.” [1 Timothy 1.7] "

The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim), Bk 1, Ch 19 para 39.
http://www.holycross.edu/departments/religiousstudies/alaffey/Augustine-Genesis.htm

Dan Hunter

Thank You.

Kris

The Holy Spirit must really want me to know something about Genesis this week. Its the topic of lecture in my Religion class here at the University of Dayton. Shame Jimmy isn't teaching it...my professor has us reading the likes of Phyllis Trible. You know, so we can get a balanced feminist understanding of the Creation.

Rose

He's thinking of one of the good things that results from the fruit -- sex and chilbirth!

I don't think this follows. First of all, in Genesis 1 God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply immediately after creating them. It's hard to see how this could be done without sex. (Though maybe according to your interpretation this occurs after the Fall? I'm a little confused by your proposed chronology.)

More important, I think, is what Jesus says about marriage in Mark 10:

5 "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied.
6 "But at the beginning of creation God `made them male and female.'
7 `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
8 and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.
9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Jesus says that marriage existed "at the beginning of creation," and He quotes from the second Creation account before the Fall in describing the nature of marriage. (And if "will become one flesh" means holding hands, I will eat my hat.) So I don't think sex and childbirth can be a result of eating the fruit.

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