Yet certain Fundamentalist factions of Christianity still insist on a literal interpretation of Genesis. How do they justify it?
A lot of the Fundamentalists I’ve encountered offer something along the lines “the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I trust what He gave us in Scripture.” In some cases, the Fundamentalist may offer “evidence” from creationist websites in order to justify the Earth being between 6,000- and 10,000-years-old.
To me, though, this shows a complete misunderstanding of the word “inspired.” God inspiring Scripture means He prevented the human authors from writing down any error concerning God or the reality of the Christian faith. From what I’ve been taught, “inspired” does not mean the everything in the Bible is literal word-for-word truth. For example, many modern pieces of music, art, and literature are inspired from older forms of music, art, and literature. Does this mean that the modern pieces are exact copies of the older pieces?
From a Catholic perspective, it would only follow logically that God’s Creation would leave obvious marks in the various scientific fields. Like a crime scene, you’d find evidence everywhere. The evidence would logically follow the event. Same thing with Creation. But the Fundamentalist view of Creation seems to have no evidence. There is no evidence that the world is thousands of years old, for example.
From a Catholic perspective, this is my line of reasoning (among other reasons) for rejecting a literal interpretation of Genesis. However, the Catholic Church allows both a symbolic interpretation of Genesis and a literal interpretation of Genesis. The only problem that can arise from a symbolic interpretation, according to the Church, is if a person rejects certain teachings about creation that are theologically certain (e.g. Adam and Eve were real people).
Personally, I think a literal interpretation of Genesis (specifically the six days of creation) is unreasonable. I don’t, however, berate people who do believe in a literal interpretation. If that’s what they believe to be the most sensible explanation, then so be it. I’ll just agree to disagree. I’m only gonna have a problem with a literal interpretation of Genesis is if someone tries to tell I have to believe it.
Also interestingly, Genesis seems to contradict itself in the first two chapters. A Catholic would look at that and say that the contradiction just goes to show that the stories are meant to be taken literally but are trying to convey a non-literal, non-historical explanation. How do Fundamentalists explain the contradiction?
I’d have to get to you on that. Maybe someone else can over an explanation to this.