Straining out gnats and swallowing camels-Evolution vs Creation Debate

As a lover of science, a student of ancient texts, and a Christian who was taught both evolution and the creation story in Catholic high school, I am hereby throwing my two cents into the absurd Creation vs. Evolution debate.

There are lots of creation stories around the world and they are all wonderful-each one tells us something different about our ancestors; each has a message. People didn’t tell stories as science or as history-“science” and “history” rules are recent constructs. They told stories to pass a message along to future generations; that is, to us.

The importance of story-telling
The importance of story-telling

Since the creation story in the Bible was never intended as science or history (as we understand those terms) why do we try to fit it into those restrictive boxes? Why do we try to sift it through screens that filter out imagination, art, intuition and stories? But it has a powerful message, a more important message than how many literal days creation took. If you get hung up on recently-invented filters, you will miss the message entirely.

Open your mind a bit...
Open your mind a bit…

Like many creation stories it starts with watery chaos-was this not the condition of planet earth long ago? Like many stories, humans are made from the dust of the ground-what do you think our bodies are made of? But they have a spark of the divine in them; also a common message. The seven days are significant; seven is a symbol for completion, perfection; in other words, it took exactly as long as it needed to.

Dust plus spark
Dust plus spark

Are there other people anywhere? Remember this is the story of One People, and all tribes thought of themselves as The People, other tribes were irrelevant. The man and the woman are living in abundance-another common idea. Men were once free, food was there for the picking-for the many millennia when we roamed as hunter-gathers. Then something bad happened and since then life has been harder.

We, the people...
We, the people…

What happened? We became fully conscious, morally responsible human beings, something that actually happened at some point which science will never be able to pinpoint. Why is that bad? Because before that we were as innocent as puppy dogs. Puppy dogs might do bad things, but they don’t know it, so they can’t be held morally responsible. In a law court, a puppy dog would be non compis mentis. He pooped on the carpet? What do you expect? He’s a puppy dog.

Relative ignorance is relative bliss?
Relative ignorance is relative bliss?

So God warned them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was in the center of the garden, and don’t forget-it was right next to the Tree of Life which he did not tell them to avoid. He warned them: if you eat of the forbidden tree, you will die. The tree, the serpent, and the marvelous garden are all symbols found in many other creation stories.

Two trees in the center of the garden...
Two trees in the center of the garden…

But they did eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Hang on-did God want them stupid, without knowledge? No, they were already smart, this is a moral question-it was not knowledge, it was the knowledge of good and evil. Now they knew good and evil, they knew when they did wrong, now they were morally responsible for their choices. Notice they did not keel over dead. But now they knew when they did wrong and they now knew they would die, knowledge of which puppy dogs are blissfully unaware.

I have a human problem...
I have a human problem…

Knowing we will die, when we mostly want to live; knowing what is right but still doing wrong; these are still the terrible burdens we bear, part of what philosophers call the Human Problem.

The Bible Creation Story does a brilliant job with that profound message. Don’t get hung up on irrelevant details and miss the message. Don’t strain out the gnats and swallow a camel, as Jesus said.

BTW>There are solutions for the human problem, what are yours? I’ll share mine in an upcoming episode. J


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s