Sunday, January 31, 2016

Genesis: my thoughts and insights

The word Genesis comes from Greek meaning “origin.” It is the first book of the Tanakh of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. My goals for reading and writing about my thoughts and insights was not to be influenced by someone’s thoughts or interpretations, I am not reading the footnotes in my Bible. For the most part, I will also quote from the New International Version (NIV). For this post, I want to focus on the Creation story told in Genesis. The Creation story is a description of how God created the heavens and the earth. It is where a lot of atheists and nonbelievers will criticize believers for their belief that such a story is true.

To recap for those who may not be familiar with this Creation Story, Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:2 says that the earth was dark, formless and empty and God gave it form. The first day, God created light and created day and night. The second day, He created the sky to separate the waters below and the waters above. The third day He separated the lands from the sea. The fourth day He created two great lights in the sky. The sun would be the greater light for the day and the moon the lesser light for the night. These lights would be used to mark the seasons, days and years. On the fifth day, He created the creatures of the waters and the birds in the skies. On the sixth day, He created the creatures of the land. The livestock, other land animals and the wild animals. The last of the land creatures created was mankind. Man was created in the image or likeness of God to rule over the creatures of the sea, air and land. On the seventh, God rested and saw His good work.

As I read through Genesis, I hear the skeptics and scientists in my ear interjecting about the Big Bang. I know that many disagree with me but I believe that God began with the Big Bang and created the forces which formed the universe that can be seen through telescopes and from the pictures sent back from the space probes. Many would argue that the universe is a lot older than the Bible says it is. If you interpret it literally, sure it sounds that way. However, one day doesn’t necessarily mean 24 hours as we know it. One day to God can be billions of years to us. Yes, there are Christians who teach the literal 24 hour days of creation. However, I believe that the use of each day of creation is more to give an image of the process. He began and ended with created day and night and He stopped. Then He created the sky and stopped. And so and so on. I think the most important aspect of the Creation Story is the process in which God creates the heavens and the earth. Everything has a beginning and the universe has a beginning. The Bible doesn’t tell is how He created everything. It doesn’t say that the gathering rock and gravity, etc, etc. I don’t think it matters. All that matters is that God is the Creator.  

Another argument is that the Bible doesn’t account for dinosaurs. I’ve heard some skeptics says the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs but we have proof that dinosaurs existed, so the Bible can’t be true. Really? I think it does, it just doesn’t call them dinosaurs. Genesis 1:24 talks about livestock, wild animals and “those who move along the ground.” Many of the dinosaurs were animals which moved along the ground. The term “dinosaur” was coined in 1841 by Sir Richard Owen, an English biologist, comparative anatomists and paleontologists. Owen used the Modern Latin word dinosaurus which is a combination of the Greek words deinos (meaning terrible) and sauros (meaning lizard). The description of “creatures that move along the earth” sounds like many creatures including dinosaurs. Again, if you can take the premise that God created earth in the time that science has told us that the earth was formed, it’s very possible. And God may have also decided the time of the dinosaurs was over and sent the meteor, spread the diseases and started the evolution which dinosaurs are now the lizards and birds we know today.

Lastly, the creation of Adam and Eve. The creation of man and woman is actually told in two places. First, in Genesis 1:26-31 where God created man and woman in His image and blessed them. His command to them was to be fruitful and multiply. To fill the earth and rule over the animals of the waters, land and sky. The second is told is Genesis 2:4-23. When God made man from the dust of the ground and breathed into him “the breath of life and man became a living being” (verse 7). God gives man the Garden of Eden but realizes that it is not good for man to be alone. God puts man to sleep and from his rib he forms a woman (verses 21-22). Now, I hear the critics saying “what a minute? Men aren’t missing a rib or how can woman be from his rib?” I have two possibilities. Maybe Adam is the only man missing the rib and when he and Eve procreated, he had the DNA for the missing rib so all future men will have the rib. Second, I think the missing rib is a metaphor that men and women were met to be partners, working side by side. 

I know that many will read this and say I’m being too simple. And maybe I am. However, in Genesis, God has given a reason, an explanation for what we see. I see the earth, the universe and marvel at His Creation. I have watched plants grow from a tiny seed to a plant producing food. I believe that God has coded plants, animals and other forces of natures to behave the way they do. I also know that many people, Christians and skeptics alike are saying that faith and science can’t mix; however, I’ve just presented possibilities that says they can and are. There are many, many examples of famous scientists who are revered for their contributions were also believers in God. Sometimes when the explanation is too complex, we tend to tune it out. I’ll end with this question: scientists are consistently going back and forth about their theories of the universe and the laws of nature, so why do we take their word as solid truth and doubt God’s version of the events?