Dion's random ramblings

Friday, August 11, 2006

Did God create THE world? Or, does God create YOUR world?

I call this debate 'majoring in minors'... Again today I was confronted by someone who is so committed to creation theory that he is missing God at work in the rest of his life.

He believes fundamentally that Genesis chapter 1 gives the account of God's creation (past tense) of the world. Hence, the purpose of this passage of scripture for him had to do with an act of God in history... It is a record of a fact that took place somewhere in the past.

Wouldn't it be so sad if that was all that this text could have to say, a dry dead fact about an unchanging historical event that took place very long ago?

Of course he knew nothing about the context of Genesis 1 (never mind the fact that the same Bible - if read in the way he insisted on reading it - contained a contradictory account of creation just one chapter later in Genesis 2). He had not bothered to actually READ the text, rather he wanted to tell it what to say! It HAD to fit his modern view of scientific creation theory, it didn't matter that it was written for a group of people in exile, in a strange land, living in slavery and chaos. No, he wanted it to be about history and science! What good would this text be to suffering people who are doubting their faith?

For those who have not yet heard about the real context of Genesis 1, please go and read about the context in which it was written by reading Psalm 137 (this was written at the same time, in the same exilic context as the creation Narative of Genesis 1). Here you have a group of people, confused, lives in chaos, struggling to find and see God, or God's hand, struggling to hear God's voice! And so they say "How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?"

It is in answer to this question, over and against their context of exile and slavery, being polluted by the Babylonian creation myths of Marduch (yup google Marduch), the author of Genesis 1 preaches this GREAT sermon about God's power, God's order in chaos, God's powerful voice to speak life out of nothingness! Isn't that a great message? Doesn't that sound so much more like God? God is much more interested in creating truth, meaning and real living IN YOUR LIFE, rather than giving a book of history about the events of the creation of THE world.

Sure, God is interested in THE world... However, I can assure you God is SO much more interested in YOUR world!

Oh, how I wish we would stop majoring in minors! It is time that we stop just reading the bible (telling it what we want to hear), perhaps we should allow the text to read us!

Let's hear some comment, is Genesis 1 about history, God's creation of THE world? Or, is it about God reaching into your life, a place where you may feel like a stranger, exiled in a strange and unfamiliar land; maybe you are enslaved, empty, no longer able to sing the Lord's song in a "strange land"? Perhaps, it is more about God's creation of YOUR world, rather than just THE world....

It kind of makes me think. How about you?

Oh, and yes Gus, this was typed in Dr Jennings' last lecture. Wasn't it GREAT?!


  • A couple of questions!
    How are you so sure that Gen 1 was written in an exilic context? I don't think we can talk about truth in these cases, only best guesses, however educated?

    How are people who do not have your theological training to understand the chapter? And those who lived 200 years ago before today's critical methods were used? Has God hidden the true meaning from the common person?

    Just some thoughts!

    By Blogger Jenny, at 7:17 PM  

  • Hi Jenny,

    Yes, indeed! These are very thought provoking comments!

    Of course, we cannot be entirely sure about context or dating, as you correctly point out. However, textual critical methods do present us with a relative certainty about the dating of this section of the Genesis text (style, language, phraseology, structure, and all the rest... are employed to judge this text against other text about which there is a much greater deal of certainty).

    However, I did read about a rather interesting argument from someone who suggested that these stylistic elements could well have been as a result of later redaction (when the text was copied into the scrolls, however, both the Masoretic Text [MT], and the Septuagint [LXX] seem to confirm the dominant scholarly datings suggested in my earlier post).

    But, what is most challenging to me is your last comment... I have never thought about that! I don't think it is God's intent to conceal meaning from any person. Perhaps we could apply the notion of progressive revelation here?

    Regardless, I don't have an answer! I will need to think about this one!



    By Blogger digitaldion, at 8:12 PM  

  • I know I am two weeks off the scent here, but as an evolutionary behavioural ecologist I thought I would add something.
    The idea of a God who created the world in the snap of His/Her fingers pales into insignificance if we consider what God would have had to create in order to give us what we see in nature today.
    The idea that God created a system which would stay in a state of beautifully balanced equilibrium no matter what ecological, environmental or even man-made pressure came into play, is far more impressive and holy a feat, than merely snapping His Godly fingers creating whatever He was imagining at the time.
    The theory of evolution describes exactly that system. The key point is: as hard as we might try to destroy the planet, we will never succeed. Sure, it may be inhabitable for us, but it will simply a find a new equilibrium, a new ecology, a new garden of eden. When the continents shifted, the life on this planet simply adapted. When the meteor/valcano/aliens killed the dinosaurs, life simply adapted. When the dino's used feathers for a cooler climate and somehow discovered they could fly, it was simply life adapting. And when an ape that had decided to walk upright to free its hands realised that there was a God, we were simply adapting. Now that for me is the true glory of God's creative skill.

    By Blogger Murray & Gina UK, at 2:05 AM  

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