Genesis creation story


#1

Hi Folks, should we think of the Genesis creation story as a myth? We now know the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and was not created in 6 days 6000 years ago.

How can we account for the ignorance of the biblical authors and Jesus, shouldn’t they have know this if they were inspired?


#2

How to read the account of the fall

390 The account of the fall in Genesis *3* uses figurative language**, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place *at the beginning of the history of man. *Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents. (emphasis added)

Catechism of the Catholiic Church

The Church has infallibly determined that the universe is of finite age—that it has not existed from all eternity—but it has not infallibly defined whether the world was created only a few thousand years ago or whether it was created several billion years ago.
Catholics should weigh the evidence for the universe’s age by examining biblical and scientific evidence. "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 159).
The contribution made by the physical sciences to examining these questions is stressed by the Catechism, which states, "The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers" (CCC 283).

catholic.com/tracts/adam-eve-and-evolution


#3

[quote="Dave_B, post:1, topic:312183"]
Hi Folks, should we think of the Genesis creation story as a myth? We now know the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and was not created in 6 days 6000 years ago.

How can we account for the ignorance of the biblical authors and Jesus, shouldn't they have know this if they were inspired?

[/quote]

Yes, it is purposefully written of the mythology genre of literature. But "myth" doesn't mean "falsehood" or "wrong". Rather, myth is a different way of telling timeless truths...it is a "true myth". Conveying important metaphysical truths in this way allows anyone, whether a modern educated person, or a near-east Bronze Age farmer, to understand and grasp these truths.

As for Christ, the Scripture says he "emptied himself". While we don't know what all he knew on Earth, we can glean that he did not have supreme omniscience as a man, he couldn't have been human really if he did. He probay couldn't have told you how nuclear fission works, or how to build a jet fighter, or the mechanisms of evolutionary biology, but he could tell you what's more important than these things by far: how your heart and soul work, and the truth of their deepest longings.


#4

[quote="Dave_B, post:1, topic:312183"]
Hi Folks, should we think of the Genesis creation story as a myth? We now know the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and was not created in 6 days 6000 years ago.

How can we account for the ignorance of the biblical authors and Jesus, shouldn't they have know this if they were inspired?

[/quote]

No ignorance involved. Check out Genesis 1:1. :D


#5

[quote="Dave_B, post:1, topic:312183"]
Hi Folks, should we think of the Genesis creation story as a myth? We now know the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and was not created in 6 days 6000 years ago.

How can we account for the ignorance of the biblical authors and Jesus, shouldn't they have know this if they were inspired?

[/quote]

Like the whole Bible, Genesis is history but not scientific history. This does not mean that it is myth or fable, but that its style is often poetic and that its content is selective. The author is like a photographer who points his camera only at the subjects that are important for his purposes, from his point of view. The purpose of the Divine Author of vthe Bible, the Holy Spirit, is to tell us about God and His acts of “Salvation History”.

Did God use evolution? He may have. Genesis is not a science text, so it does not tell us how so much as why. But there are hints. Only three times in the creation account is "bara" used: for the creation of matter (I:I), life (I:2I) and humanity (I:27). The other times, God said, "let the waters bring forth..." or "let the earth bring forth...." that is, for most of His acts of "creation", He made rather than created.

For example, He used the pre-existing material of "the dust of the earth to make man. Was that an ape body? Perhaps. Why not? Our 'image of God" distinctiveness, our personality, is grounded in the soul, not in the body. We are "rational animals". God is not an animal.

Catholics have seldom had the difficulties and embarrassments many Protestants have had about creation vs. evolution. Ever since Augustine they have interpreted Genesis' "days" non literally. (The Hebrew word there, yom, is often used non-quantitatively in Scripture.) Purposes not clocks, measure God's time.
KREEFT "You Can Understand the Bible"


#6

We are free to believe in a literal 6 day creation. We are also allowed to believe in a figurative 6 day creation, where each one of those days represents a large amount (thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions) of years. I believe the latter, where each day represents a large amount of years or eras.

In either case, it is important to know that God created the earth, and the entire universe. He is the source of all creation, and that is the truth.


#7

Methinks all that get to heaven will, prior to their arrival, will have a hole or two in their Theology somewhere....;)


#8

[quote="Polycarp1, post:5, topic:312183"]
Like the whole Bible, Genesis is history but not scientific history. This does not mean that it is myth or fable, but that its style is often poetic and that its content is selective. The author is like a photographer who points his camera only at the subjects that are important for his purposes, from his point of view. The purpose of the Divine Author of vthe Bible, the Holy Spirit, is to tell us about God and His acts of “Salvation History”.

Did God use evolution? He may have. Genesis is not a science text, so it does not tell us how so much as why. But there are hints. Only three times in the creation account is "bara" used: for the creation of matter (I:I), life (I:2I) and humanity (I:27). The other times, God said, "let the waters bring forth..." or "let the earth bring forth...." that is, for most of His acts of "creation", He made rather than created.

For example, He used the pre-existing material of "the dust of the earth to make man. Was that an ape body? Perhaps. Why not? Our 'image of God" distinctiveness, our personality, is grounded in the soul, not in the body. We are "rational animals". God is not an animal.

Catholics have seldom had the difficulties and embarrassments many Protestants have had about creation vs. evolution. Ever since Augustine they have interpreted Genesis' "days" non literally. (The Hebrew word there, yom, is often used non-quantitatively in Scripture.) Purposes not clocks, measure God's time.
KREEFT "You Can Understand the Bible"

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#9

[quote="Dave_B, post:1, topic:312183"]
Hi Folks, should we think of the Genesis creation story as a myth? We now know the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and was not created in 6 days 6000 years ago.

How can we account for the ignorance of the biblical authors and Jesus, shouldn't they have know this if they were inspired?

[/quote]

I suggest you get a good Catholic study Bible and read the catechism if you want to understand how the Church understands the creation account. In short, the writers were not ignorant. The key to understanding the creation account is not to take everything literally but as truth represented in figurative language. I prefer not to use the word myth-- it often means that the story is unfounded or made up-- this is not the case with the creation account. In order to understand Genesis, you must try to understand the mode of communication of the biblical writers. You must also try to understand the Scripture in the context of the whole Scripture too. Here is a nice online study of Genesis. There is lots of material here, but you should find it helpful. From lesson 2 of that study:

Whether one believes in a literal 6-day creation period is really not the issue. The issue is: Do you believe that God is the author of Creation? One may believe in a literal 6-day creation or that God used evolution in some way (other than Darwinism which denies God's intimate involvement in the Creation event). In 1907 Pope Pius X addressed the issues concerning what Catholics must believe about the Creation in the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. This document was followed by an encyclical by Pope Pius XII entitled Humanae Generis. These two documents define what Catholics must believe about the history of creation to be in accord with the teachings of the Church. For those Catholic Christians who struggle with the question of evolution, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church has set these guidelines for what Catholic Christians must believe about Creation:

  1. The creation by God of all things at the beginning of time. The special creation by God of man. The formation of woman from man. The unity of the human family. The original happiness of our first parents in a state of justice and grace. The divine command given to man by God to prove his obedience. The transgression of that command at the instigation of Satan in the form of a serpent. The fall of our original parents from their primitive state of innocence. The promise of a future redeemer.

#10

[quote="Dave_B, post:1, topic:312183"]
Hi Folks, should we think of the Genesis creation story as a myth? We now know the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and was not created in 6 days 6000 years ago.

How can we account for the ignorance of the biblical authors and Jesus, shouldn't they have know this if they were inspired?

[/quote]

actually, science supports Biblical claims regarding creation
it seems that you do undesrtand how with the big bang, the universe came into being from nothing: all the energy, which is related to time, space and mass, which cannot be created nor destroyed
Who created it would be of infinite power, beyond space, beyond time, while at the same time being everywhere
His Word includes that basic relationships that bring the universe into being (E=mcc, would be the most well known of these)

given the advances in science, how we understand the workings of our universe today, will sound quaint and outdated in 100 yrs, let alone 5000

i would recommend you read a bit more about Catholicism: the Catechism is a good start
and btw: please refrain from using words like "ignorance" as you have in your post


#11

[quote="Prayer_Warrior, post:9, topic:312183"]
I suggest you get a good Catholic study Bible and read the catechism if you want to understand how the Church understands the creation account. In short, the writers were not ignorant. The key to understanding the creation account is not to take everything literally but as truth represented in figurative language. I prefer not to use the word myth-- it often means that the story is unfounded or made up-- this is not the case with the creation account. In order to understand Genesis, you must try to understand the mode of communication of the biblical writers. You must also try to understand the Scripture in the context of the whole Scripture too. Here is a nice online study of Genesis. There is lots of material here, but you should find it helpful. From lesson 2 of that study:

[/quote]

I agree, but I think we should take back the word "myth". It is a perfectly good term to classify the creation account(s) with. Myth is not a four letter word! It is just a different genre, a different way of telling truths. It does NOT mean "false" or "just made up".


#12

[quote="Blacksword, post:11, topic:312183"]
I agree, but I think we should take back the word "myth". It is a perfectly good term to classify the creation account(s) with. Myth is not a four letter word! It is just a different genre, a different way of telling truths. It does NOT mean "false" or "just made up".

[/quote]

The difficulty I have with the word myth is that often people cannot give a simple answer to my question -- What is the Divine Revelation which is now a Catholic doctrine?

It is o.k. with me if there are different ways of telling "truths". The problem is that many people have difficulty figuring out what the Catholic "truth" really is.

***What are the Catholic truths found in the myth of the Genesis creation story in the first three chapers of Genesis? Does that question make sense?:o

Post 9 gives some general truths which are good.

However, Catholicism starts with the general and then goes much deeper. For example, "The special creation by God of man." Catholicism delves into both the origin and nature of man plus humanity's goal or purpose.


#13

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