Genesis Question VS Science


#1

Hi guys... heres my question. I know that Genesis can be taken not literally.. and I have done that in my interpretation of it for while. But.. this thought has come into my mind. Genesis order of events was as follows right?

Light was formed on DAY 1
Followed by the sky DAY 2
Earth and Vegetation DAY3
Greater and smaller light. Which I assume to be Sun and Moon DAY 4

So, my question is ... from science we know that the order is more like

1st Light,
2nd... Sun and moon (stars)....
3rd... Sky and
4th.... Earth and vegetation?

So... based on this... For those who believe that science and church teaching can be linked.. Can you tell me what u make of this?


#2

[quote="James1990, post:1, topic:326123"]
Hi guys... heres my question. I know that Genesis can be taken not literally.. and I have done that in my interpretation of it for while. But.. this thought has come into my mind. Genesis order of events was as follows right?

Light was formed on DAY 1
Followed by the sky DAY 2
Earth and Vegetation DAY3
Greater and smaller light. Which I assume to be Sun and Moon DAY 4

So, my question is ... from science we know that the order is more like

1st Light,
2nd... Sun and moon (stars)....
3rd... Sky and
4th.... Earth and vegetation?

So... based on this... For those who believe that science and church teaching can be linked.. Can you tell me what u make of this?

[/quote]

There are several ways of interpreting the days of Genesis in a way that is compatible with the Big Bang theory. Here are three of them:

1) “The framework interpretation.” Under this interpretation, the "days" are viewed as a symbolic way of expressing the doctrine that God created all things and gave them order and beauty. Under this interpretation, the author of Genesis used the first three days to show that God created three “domains” and the fourth, fifth, and sixth days to show that God created inhabitants for each of these domains.

[table="head"]First Triad | | | Second Triad
Day 1 | Day and night (1:3-5). | Sun for the day, moon and stars for the night (1:14). | Day 4
Day 2 | The sky and the sea (1:7-8). | Birds for the sky and fish for the sea (1:20). | Day 5
Day 3 | Dry land (1:9) and vegetation (1:11) | Beasts and men to walk on the land (1:25-26) and eat the vegetation (1:29-30) | Day 6
[/table]

From this perspective, the “days” aren’t the focus but the arrangement of the domains to their inhabitants, and the days only serve as an image to help us see order in this. It’s not the daily sequence that we should focus on so much as the part of creation spoken of under each day, so that we see that they are made to complement and complete each other. If the author intended the days and the sequence to be symbolic, to serve the purpose of pointing to the orderliness in each thing being created for its respective domain, then there is nothing in this text that is incompatible with the Big Bang theory.

2) “The day-age hypothesis.” Under this interpretation, the “days” of Genesis 1 are meant to refer to “ages” of indefinite lengths, and they include each other with significant overlap. Its supporters note that Genesis 1:14-18 says that the stars, sun and moon were created on day four, "to separate the light from the darkness," yet it was on day one that God "separated the light from the darkness" -- Genesis 1:4-5. Thus the “day-ages” overlapped each other significantly, they say. If Genesis 1 allows for long ages of formation and overlap in the sequence of formation, then there is nothing in it that is incompatible with the Big Bang theory.

3) “Advanced-earth creationism.” Advanced-earth creationists see the creation of the world and interpret it literally, but say that it included a built-in degree of advancement, so that it appears to be older than it is. Geological strata, fossils of prehistoric animals, and starlight that is billions of years old all came as part of the package, they say, so that man could investigate the earth and make discoveries that would prove beneficial in the scientific age. Advanced-earth creationists note that the plants created in Gen. 1:11-12 were already advanced in form, with the seeds of the next generation already prepared for planting. The rest of the world, they say, was like that: it came with age built-in, and that is what science discovers in its experiments.

Although the Big Bang theory is not incompatible with the Book of Genesis, it is not necessary for a Catholic to believe in the Big Bang. A Catholic who is a young-earth creationist should be prepared to explain why he believes the scientific evidence has been misinterpreted by those who believe in billions of years, and thus he should have a finely-developed understanding of the issues. But for those who do not see the wisdom of challenging the scientists on the issues of cosmology and astronomy, it is perfectly fine to interpret Genesis 1 in a way that leaves room in the doctrine of creation for modern scientific discoveries.

Anyway I hope that helps. God bless!


#3

Remember, light is both invisible and visible.


#4

3) “Advanced-earth creationism.” Advanced-earth creationists see the creation of the world and interpret it literally, but say that it included a built-in degree of advancement, so that it appears to be older than it is. Geological strata, fossils of prehistoric animals, and starlight that is billions of years old all came as part of the package, they say, so that man could investigate the earth and make discoveries that would prove beneficial in the scientific age. Advanced-earth creationists note that the plants created in Gen. 1:11-12 were already advanced in form, with the seeds of the next generation already prepared for planting. The rest of the world, they say, was like that: it came with age built-in, and that is what science discovers in its experiments.

Although the Big Bang theory is not incompatible with the Book of Genesis, it is not necessary for a Catholic to believe in the Big Bang. A Catholic who is a young-earth creationist should be prepared to explain why he believes the scientific evidence has been misinterpreted by those who believe in billions of years, and thus he should have a finely-developed understanding of the issues. But for those who do not see the wisdom of challenging the scientists on the issues of cosmology and astronomy, it is perfectly fine to interpret Genesis 1 in a way that leaves room in the doctrine of creation for modern scientific discoveries.

Anyway I hope that helps. God bless!

I'm a old earther that the Big Bang did happen. I do have a problem with the Advanced-Earth creationism that it give the imprestion the God told a lie when He created the earth He made it look older then it was.


#5

[quote="James1990, post:1, topic:326123"]
Hi guys... heres my question. I know that Genesis can be taken not literally.. and I have done that in my interpretation of it for while. But.. this thought has come into my mind. Genesis order of events was as follows right?

Light was formed on DAY 1
Followed by the sky DAY 2
Earth and Vegetation DAY3
Greater and smaller light. Which I assume to be Sun and Moon DAY 4

So, my question is ... from science we know that the order is more like

1st Light,
2nd... Sun and moon (stars)....
3rd... Sky and
4th.... Earth and vegetation?

So... based on this... For those who believe that science and church teaching can be linked.. Can you tell me what u make of this?

[/quote]

Easy. God can do whatever God wants to do - without science. Take Jesus: raised the dead, removed leprosy, gave sight to the blind, commanded a storm to cease and it did, plus He rose bodily from the dead.

I think some Catholics forget that God can do what only a God can do.

Peace,
Ed


#6

[quote="tabycat, post:4, topic:326123"]
I'm a old earther that the Big Bang did happen. I do have a problem with the Advanced-Earth creationism that it give the imprestion the God told a lie when He created the earth He made it look older then it was.

[/quote]

Well no one is bound and required to accept that interpretation. I myself favor the framework interpretation. But advanced-earth creationism is consistent with the text, if you can propose a motive other than lying for creating a world that appears older than it is. One possible motive could be that He wanted to put in things take billions of years to develop because they would prove beneficial to us -- like oil that ordinarily takes millions of years to be formed from old fossils, or starlight that ordinarily takes billions of years to get here but which demonstrates to us the power and beauty of the universe and its Creator. If God wanted to show us things like that, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to make a universe with those things built in, even though atheists would come along later and say it proves Genesis wrong. It wouldn't mean He was trying to lie to us, just trying to supply us ahead of time with things that ordinarily would require a long time to develop.

Also I would be careful to accept the atheist's claims right on their face. Atheists are the ones who came up with the idea that if advanced-earth creationism is true, then God is a liar. That's a very powerful meme, but I don't think we should accept it when there are alternative explanations.

And again I stress that no one HAS to believe in advanced-earth creationism. (I don't.) But I think it can be defended and it does square the text with what we discover in science, so it's helpful to know about it and share it with people who may be willing to accept that interpretation but not others. Some things are acceptable to some people that aren't acceptable to others. As long as it's not incompatible with the faith, I don't think we should reject anything that can help bring even a few people in line with the faith.


#7

[quote="dmar198, post:6, topic:326123"]
Well no one is bound and required to accept that interpretation. I myself favor the framework interpretation. But advanced-earth creationism is consistent with the text, if you can propose a motive other than lying for creating a world that appears older than it is. One possible motive could be that He wanted to put in things take billions of years to develop because they would prove beneficial to us -- like oil that ordinarily takes millions of years to be formed from old fossils, or starlight that ordinarily takes billions of years to get here but which demonstrates to us the power and beauty of the universe and its Creator. If God wanted to show us things like that, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to make a universe with those things built in, even though atheists would come along later and say it proves Genesis wrong. It wouldn't mean He was trying to lie to us, just trying to supply us ahead of time with things that ordinarily would require a long time to develop.

Also I would be careful to accept the atheist's claims right on their face. Atheists are the ones who came up with the idea that if advanced-earth creationism is true, then God is a liar. That's a very powerful meme, but I don't think we should accept it when there are alternative explanations.

And again I stress that no one HAS to believe in advanced-earth creationism. (I don't.) But I think it can be defended and it does square the text with what we discover in science, so it's helpful to know about it and share it with people who may be willing to accept that interpretation but not others. Some things are acceptable to some people that aren't acceptable to others. As long as it's not incompatible with the faith, I don't think we should reject anything that can help bring even a few people in line with the faith.

[/quote]

Technically, this has nothing to do with the faith. Insisting it does is not productive. In fact, since it is brought up here so often, I am more and more convinced that it has nothing to do with the faith.

Peace,
Ed


#8

I like the framework interpretation... Is there anymore you know about it? Also... can more posters please share their thoughts on this? Its something that got me thinking...


#9

[quote="James1990, post:1, topic:326123"]
Hi guys... heres my question. I know that Genesis can be taken not literally.. and I have done that in my interpretation of it for while. But.. this thought has come into my mind. Genesis order of events was as follows right?

Light was formed on DAY 1
Followed by the sky DAY 2
Earth and Vegetation DAY3
Greater and smaller light. Which I assume to be Sun and Moon DAY 4

So, my question is ... from science we know that the order is more like

1st Light,
2nd... Sun and moon (stars)....
3rd... Sky and
4th.... Earth and vegetation?

So... based on this... For those who believe that science and church teaching can be linked.. Can you tell me what u make of this?

[/quote]

The creation story is not meant to be read scientifically because the author did not intent to write to an audience of scientists. The creation story is meant to be read liturgically. The author’s intent was to show God is the creator and author of life and man planned an exceptional role is this plan of creation. That’s why the numbers used are significant and there are many parallels throughout the bible connected to the creation story.


#10

[quote="Augustine3, post:9, topic:326123"]
The creation story is not meant to be read scientifically because the author did not intent to write to an audience of scientists. The creation story is meant to be read liturgically. The author’s intent was to show God is the creator and author of life and man planned an exceptional role is this plan of creation. That’s why the numbers used are significant and there are many parallels throughout the bible connected to the creation story.

[/quote]

Then why is it brought up here all the time?

Peace,
Ed


#11

[quote="edwest2, post:10, topic:326123"]
Then why is it brought up here all the time?

Peace,
Ed

[/quote]

I think it's brought up all the time because there is an apparent discrepancy between what Genesis seems to say on its surface and what we seem to discover in science. Although the scientific points are not a part of the faith, and the author of Genesis wasn't trying to discuss science, it can seem that his words cannot be reconciled with science, and that needs to be addressed. (It is also brought up because it is a constant theme that atheists are harping on ad nauseum. Not everyone can see directly and immediately why their objection is stupid.)


#12

[quote="dmar198, post:11, topic:326123"]
I think it's brought up all the time because there is an apparent discrepancy between what Genesis seems to say on its surface and what we seem to discover in science. Although the scientific points are not a part of the faith, and the author of Genesis wasn't trying to discuss science, it can seem that his words cannot be reconciled with science, and that needs to be addressed. (It is also brought up because it is a constant theme that atheists are harping on ad nauseum. Not everyone can see directly and immediately why their objection is stupid.)

[/quote]

The very first sentence:

In the beginning (time)
God created the heavens (space)
and the earth (matter)

Science have only recently confirmed what was written thousands of years ago.


#13

[quote="edwest2, post:10, topic:326123"]
Then why is it brought up here all the time?

[/quote]

Because people don’t read it liturgically :(


#14

I understand. So, an atheist might not join the faith because some don’t think the earth is billions of years old? What’s next? He joins the faith and… “You mean this little wafer contains the presence of God? Can I take it to a lab? You know, to see if there’s anything that proves that?”

I also understand the desire of some to reconcile creation with science but we’re not talking about it at the God level. So a scientist from today just happens to be around when Jesus calls Lazarus from the tomb - what does he do? Ask him, “How did you do that?” Could it be because He is GOD!?

That’s the part I don’t get about the way some Catholics approach creation. They accept as literally true that Jesus raised the dead and raised Himself, bodily, from the dead but creation? What? God couldn’t do what? Name it.

For all we know, and I’m not trying to belittle science, God could have created the earth in days since the writer in Genesis clearly adds the words about the evening and the morning. Why? The “simple” people hearing that at the time would have thought, “Hey. If God did it in a day, sure. Why not? He’s GOD!” Not some human scientist.

And about the “apparent” age of the earth? God lied and deceived us by making it look old? This begs the questions: If planets are formed by hot gases and dust, how do they separate out into (A) radioactive elements whose half-lives generally do not exceed the current age of the earth for example? Even if I start with a hundred billion tons of uranium, after billions of years, why is there any left? And how did all that radiation affect everything else? (B) I don’t think science knows the full answer to planetary formation:

sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424125444.htm

What I’m really objecting to is the anger and emotion that surrounds this. What? All MUST comply, and if not, what? The planet explodes? We forget how to drive? It’s this “all must comply” idea that bothers me. I don’t care if the moon is made of green cheese, literally. It will not affect my salvation, and proving one thing to a non-believer while science is still wrestling with ‘dark matter’ and other questions?

Once the unbeliever becomes a believer, what? He will passively accept, “You mean, if I go into that little box and tell the priest all my sins that he can forgive me? Literally?”

“Why can’t I go to Mass only when I feel like it? Or what’s this thing about the Blessed Virgin and adoring a Eucharist in that monstrance thing? What’s that about?”

No, I’m not going for ignorance but it seems to me that the issue isn’t about faith or good apologetics, it seems more about getting everybody to just say yes to whatever some people tell us about science. Science, by the way, which strictly prohibits any God talk.

So, to any Catholic reading this, God did nothing? Yes or no.

Peace,
Ed


#15

To answer your question: No, God did something, He created a universe. To agree with your frustration over this issue: yeah, absolutely, the idea that everybody must comply with what the scientists say (and that’s always changing) is silly. Nevertheless, if a scientist (or a normal person) is convinced for whatever reason that the Big Bang theory is true, and the surface-level reading of Genesis gives him grief, we shouldn’t demand that he adopt the surface-level reading of Genesis and give up his deeply-held convictions about science, because the text of Genesis can be interpreted in several ways and is in no way incompatible with what scientists think they know. Yes, people shouldn’t put higher faith in science than they put in Scripture. But when the Big Bang has been ingrained into someone’s psyche since first grade astronomy, insisting on the surface-level reading of Genesis can give rise to serious cognitive dissonance and we ought to be sensitive to that. I sympathize with your frustration surrounding this, but I don’t think their hesitation to affirm Genesis always manifests a lack of faith in God’s power, I just think it reflects the deep effect that our education system has had on more than a generation of kids.


#16

Well, your reply is appreciated but I'm not frustrated. I realize that the young look up to authority figures and if mom or dad aren't helping then if their teacher says the earth is billions of years old then who are they to argue? Was anyone there for the Big Bang? It appears that something came from nothing and expanded into the universe we can detect, but after that, there are a lot of questions.

No, I think that whatever they learned in first grade is not the issue. The core issue, from a Catholic perspective, is our primary mission: to tell the world Jesus Christ, true man and true God, was born, lived and died for a reason and that there is a life after this one.

Any cognitive dissonance about astronomy is nothing compared to my examples. The Sacraments? Why? The Eucharistic is what? Going to Mass? Saints? And so on. Are they going to accept any of that? Even if we all sign on the bottom line, yes, the earth is whatever science says it is years old?

Peace,
Ed


#17

[quote="edwest2, post:16, topic:326123"]
Well, your reply is appreciated but I'm not frustrated. I realize that the young look up to authority figures and if mom or dad aren't helping then if their teacher says the earth is billions of years old then who are they to argue? Was anyone there for the Big Bang? It appears that something came from nothing and expanded into the universe we can detect, but after that, there are a lot of questions.

No, I think that whatever they learned in first grade is not the issue. The core issue, from a Catholic perspective, is our primary mission: to tell the world Jesus Christ, true man and true God, was born, lived and died for a reason and that there is a life after this one.

Any cognitive dissonance about astronomy is nothing compared to my examples. The Sacraments? Why? The Eucharistic is what? Going to Mass? Saints? And so on. Are they going to accept any of that? Even if we all sign on the bottom line, yes, the earth is whatever science says it is years old?

Peace,
Ed

[/quote]

:thumbsup: It is important to keep in mind that we were redeemed long before the big bang was conceived, as we will be, long after the theory will become a primitive idea belonging to the past.


#18

[quote="Aloysium, post:17, topic:326123"]
:thumbsup: It is important to keep in mind that we were redeemed long before the big bang was conceived, as we will be, long after the theory will become a primitive idea belonging to the past.

[/quote]

Redeemed? How? Faith cometh by hearing. Jesus told us to preach the Gospel to all nations. If we deny Him, He will deny the one denying Him to His Father.

Peace,
Ed


#19

Thanks alot... I think I kind of got my answer!


#20

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