Re: Inhabitants of the Ark

Jan de Koning (
Mon, 03 Nov 1997 14:45:19 -0500

The question and first reply I read show again, that no one can avoid the
"religious" content of biology, nor the religious reply to reading the
bible. Everything we do is part of our religion, our serving of God or
not-God. We may be able to live for a while as if we can do things outside
religion, but we are bound to run up against difficulties, and then we must
make choices, sometimes unexpectedly.

Telling bible stories is one of those moments. It is indeed true that you
can tell stories to a three year old in a certain way, but a fifteen, or
twenty year old knows more, and you do wise to take that into account. The
same difficulties you have with the story of the ark you had allready with
the creation accounts, and with the high ages mentioned in the genealogies.
Also with evolution, or its contrary. Genesis chapters one through eleven
are a special type of story telling, originally to a Hebrew people. You
must take that into account when telling the story to a N.American child,
(or public) who has generally lost a sense of history, and does not
realize the evolving in languages, literature, and story telling during
the ages, and even years.. (Especially an old man like I am notices that
certain words and expressions have another meaning and/or "feeling", than
they had fifty years ago.) Why were stories told? Then, and why were they
told in this particular way? And, why did God find it necessary to place
these difficulties before us? I am sure that these three questions will
not be answered in a lifetime. In the meantime, God gave us the Old
Testament as part of the story and history of salvation. I talk to my son
differently about these stories now as we did forty years ago, but we still
talk about them, and need to talk about them for our salvation.

I am not the first one saying this, and I realize that according to some
it is doing away with the "truth" of the bible. I deny that, I often think
it is a lack of really wanting to see the difficulties one has to explain.
In doing so, and maybe in not doing so, one is liable to make mistakes, as
all of us do that anyway.

May the Lord guide our discussions,

Jan de Koning
Willowdale, Ont.