Jim Eisele wrote:
> Get one idea that shows where the Bible doesn't reconcile with science into a
> public forum, please.
"Reconciliation" of the Bible with science requires, first, recognition
of the character of biblical texts. Genesis 1 is a theological and (perhaps)
liturgical text that proclaims the God of Israel as the creator of the world
and of humanity. It uses ideas about the physical world current ~2600 years
ago but its purpose is not to teach those ideas, & in at least one case (the
demotion of the heavenly bodies from divine status) are challenged when it's
necessary to do so theologically. If this is realized then there is no problem
with "reconciling" this text with modern scientific understandings of origins.
But this is quite different from trying to "reconcile" them by reading
Genesis 1 as a kind of popularized version of the modern scientific story. To
do that one has to do all kinds of interpretive gymnastics to explain how land
plants could have been created before the sun, &c. & then there's the fact
that there's the 2d Genesis account, which tells the story of creation in a
quite different way.
Here's an analogy that I've often found helpful in teaching about
this. Look at two texts about the assasination of Lincoln: a description by a
good historian (I use the one from Benjamin Thomas'
biography) and Walt Whitman's poem "O Captain, My Captain". They are both
about Lincoln's death. The history gives "just the facts" but the poem conveys
better what the facts meant for people ~1865. The two are easily reconciled if
one recognizes that they are different types of literature. But if you try to
reconcile them by reading the poem as history, you have to have Lincoln taken
from Ford's theater to die on board a ship in the Potomac River or something
like that - i.e., nonsense.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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