Thursday, November 19, 2009

And It Was Very Good

Many folks see evolution as a call to arms. Some of them judge anyone who thinks evolution has merits to be not a "Christian."

I don't get it. I thought "Christian" referred to belief in Christ, whose teachings appear in the New Testament, not the Old, and who, as I recall (my memory could be faulty) did not discuss evolution.

When I turn to Genesis 1, I find the 7-day creation story these folks think is critical to Christian thought. As I read it, Genesis 1 gives the following schematic:

Day 0: A formless, watery void.

Day 1: Light.

Day 2: Sky.

Day 3: Dry land ("earth") and the "seas."

Day 4: Sun, moon and stars.

Day 5: Living creatures (but not humans).

Day 6: Humankind.

Day 7: Rest.

I admit that making this neat list from the sometimes ambiguous language might be risky, but I think I have the basic elements "correct."

Don't stop! There's more. Genesis 2 mixes things up a bit. In Genesis 2, man is created earlier than the "animal of the field" and "every bird of the air," sort of throwing a wrench in the science of the 7-day story of Genesis 1.

Why, I ask, does the Bible begin with such a remarkable inconsistency? Could it be a warning that the words that follow should not be read "literally?"

When one of her neighbors welcomed Virginia to Sin Valley, she carried a gift. "If you're going to live in this church," she said, "then you need one of these." "Thank you," said Virginia, as she placed the new Bible on a dirty, dusty mantle and went back to work.

P.S. (1/10/10).  Barbara Kingsolver, in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle offers a real-world example of evolution:  "More than 500 species of insects and mites now resist our chemical controls [pesticides], along with over 150 viruses and other plant pathogens.  More than 270 of our recently developed herbicides have now become ineffective for controlling some weeds.  Some 300 weed species resist all herbicides."

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