RELIGION POLL #3: Is Genesis Compatible With Science?

Author: MisterChris ,

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  • MisterChris
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    RELIGION POLL #3: Is Genesis Compatible With Science?

    A couple of points I'd like to share. From a non-literalist perspective, many of the "days" in Genesis happened without the presence of a sun. That suggests to me that perhaps the time schemes are longer. Even If you were to come from a Biblical literalist perspective, in context, Genesis does not necessary make for full-fledged historical accuracy. At the time of Genesis' writings, no Jew would have a scientific background to understand concepts like evolution and the old earth. So it makes sense that God would present a simplified account that had some symbolic meanings. 

    But that is just my limited knowledge on the subject. Feel free to share your take. 
  • ludofl3x
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    --> @MisterChris
    . At the time of Genesis' writings, no Jew would have a scientific background to understand concepts like evolution and the old earth. So it makes sense that God would present a simplified account that had some symbolic meanings. 
    Why would he make early man so impenetrable, and then lay a whole bunch of evidence that looks totally different from the biblical account? How can an early man NOT understand natural selection, but they are expected to understand unsubstantiated allegorical symbols? If I wanted credit for something, I'd sign my work, not do my best to make sure whatever I did could only be credited to some other person. 

    Short answer no. 
  • oromagi
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    Nope
  • MisterChris
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    --> @oromagi
    Care to elaborate?
  • MisterChris
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    --> @ludofl3x
    That is an intellectually provocative objection, and it's not really one I could refute properly.

    I can only find two real responses to it:

    1. Young Earth creationists simply say "we think the evidence points toward a young Earth, so screw you and your preconceptions." Not sure I buy it. I dabbled a bit in the YEC realm but then realized the whole thing is like the Flat Earth Society in a lot of ways. I doubt I'll be buying much of their arguments anymore. 

    2. Evolutionary theologians at BioLogos say that Genesis is "theological/narrative history" and was never meant by God to give any commentary on the origins of the universe. But aligning with your point, I have no idea why God would "put" Genesis in the Bible knowing people would misinterpret Genesis as historical fact for millennia up until the dawn of modern science. Sure, it doesn't affect the theology of the religion much, but it DOES turn away new converts who don't want to leave their brain at the door. 


  • ludofl3x
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    --> @MisterChris
    What it does most effectively is completely undermines the historical literalism of the bible. Many Christians will tell you it's not that important, that the bible is full of these allegorical tales, but they don't ever explain how these "easily identifiable allegories" are somehow distinguishable from the central supernatural myth of Christianity. Jesus' resurrection, which makes far more sense as an allegory than it does as a true occurrence, a man rising from the dead and all. It's every bit as likely as a 40 day global flood and a boat built by a 500 year old man holding two of every animal on earth and leaving zero evidence behind. 
  • wlws9
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    --> @MisterChris
    So it makes sense that God would present a simplified account that had some symbolic meanings. 
    So simplified to the extent that God simplified 13.5 billion years to seven days?

    And I suppose then,  that a lump of clay thrown down from the heavens was symbolic of the complex processes of evolution by natural selection.
  • MisterChris
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    I'm just sharing some conjecture. No need to get condescending. 
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @ludofl3x

    What it does most effectively is completely undermines the historical literalism of the bible. Many Christians will tell you it's not that important, that the bible is full of these allegorical tales, but they don't ever explain how these "easily identifiable allegories" are somehow distinguishable from the central supernatural myth of Christianity. Jesus' resurrection, which makes far more sense as an allegory than it does as a true occurrence, a man rising from the dead and all. It's every bit as likely as a 40 day global flood and a boat built by a 500 year old man holding two of every animal on earth and leaving zero evidence behind. 

    I'm not one of those Christians who will tell you it's unimportant.

    If Jesus' resurrection makes more sense as an allegory than a true occurrence, what's the message of the allegory?

  • ludofl3x
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    If Jesus' resurrection makes more sense as an allegory than a true occurrence, what's the message of the allegory?

    That his words and outlook and the stories about him were powerful enough to survive long after he was actually dead. And you're also not one of those Christians who can lay out exactly how to distinguish the allegorical (talking donkeys) from the factual, as I recall. :-)

    So is the bible historically accurate and literal cover to cover? If the answer's no, then please tell me how to tell one from the other. 
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @ludofl3x
    That his words and outlook and the stories about him were powerful enough to survive long after he was actually dead.

    That's not the message. That's a description of the impact and ifluence of his message.

    And you're also not one of those Christians who can lay out exactly how to distinguish the allegorical (talking donkeys) from the factual, as I recall. :-)

    So is the bible historically accurate and literal cover to cover? If the answer's no, then please tell me how to tell one from the other

    Are you referring specifically to the talking donkey?

    I don't see any reason to consider that an allegory. The scripture seems to indicate that the event actually happened as told. I don't know of any biblical scholars who consider it an allegory. There might be. I just don't know of any.

    The reality is, some texts refer to real events, some to allegories, some to poetry, etc. Some texts are more universally understood, others hold divided opinion. I don't think any human will understand the Bible in it's entirety in their lifetime.

    The barrier you'll continue to run into with believers is the notion that the Bible should be like instant coffee. Tell me one subject in the educational arena where anyone knows/understands it all.
  • ludofl3x
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    That's not the message. That's a description of the impact and ifluence of his message.
    What's the message then? How's it different than what I described? Is it that you can actually live forever and beat death? If it is, why has no one done it?

    The barrier you'll continue to run into with believers is the notion that the Bible should be like instant coffee. Tell me one subject in the educational arena where anyone knows/understands it all.
    Instant coffee? how? Isn't the bible supposed to be instant salvation for all who hear and accept its message? The problem is that every believer, you included, all think you're the one who's right and the others are wrong, but you can't explain why, otherwise you'd convince someone else, or be convinced by them. There isn't a scientist in any educational arena claiming they know for sure all of science or even all of their own branch. There are tons of Christians doing that, even if you aren't one. 

    For the record, is the entire bible historical / literal? You seem to say no, but again you don't explain how you distinguish. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    Many Christians will tell you it's not that important, that the bible is full of these allegorical tales

    That's true and I'll explain below why.  But actually there are things that are imperative and there are things that are not. 

    So is the bible historically accurate and literal cover to cover? If the answer's no, then please tell me how to tell one from the other.

    Of course it's not literal from cover to cover that is silly. The Bible is literally a mixture of figurative language and literal accounts throughout the entire book it doesn't have to be one or the other it is both, when you get to the Gospels the style changes a bit of course, but Jesus uses a lot of parables and illustrations to convey spiritual points. How to tell the difference though between literal and figurative? sometimes it's obvious and other times not so obvious (because many times stories are used to convey specific images or underlying principles, so it may come across as a literal story with real people), the main thing would be to use common sense, another way is who cares? it's not going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things as far as beliefs go or whether or not you interpret an account as metaphorical or actual. When you get to the meat of the Bible and what is to be actually applied that's where it matters. I tried to explain this in the other thread in the topic of resurrection, things that are applicable are things that one can apply to themselves. You can't apply what can't be applied, what is to be believed is different than what can actually be applied.

    For example, I can "believe" that Jesus rose from the dead but I can apply "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth"....or " For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting".....or another example...." Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" ect ect there are literally endless spiritual principle that can be applied and have direct results. There are beliefs and then there is application, and only one of those things merits growth of the individual.

    But back to the point, the opening Genesis account is obviously symbolic and figurative which conveys layers of meanings. A talking snake for example would be a good clue, God needing to take a nap (rest) after creating for six days is another lol.....those are obviously silly when rendering a literal interpretation. The trick is, there could be literal elements within any given figurative style of writing. The Bible literally weaves in and out of figurative and literal. I've been reading the Bible on my own since I was a kid so to me it's very simple to get but people want to make it much more complicated. But the plain truth of the matter is that it doesn't really matter, if you use good common sense and you apply what it is that needed then you have everything you need. In the end nothing will change if you decide to believe in the Noah's Ark tale, but it will make a difference whether or not you applied teachings and principles. Principles are things you actually work out within yourself, it may apply to how you live, think or act or even feel. These are the things that you want to take seriously and what makes you either a God-lover or not.

    The Genesis story was meant to convey imagery by using very exaggerated hyperbole statements, it's more like an idea or a picture of creation rather than the literal way God created the universe. It was never meant to be a science journal, rather meant to invoke simplistically the idea of creation, mixed with symbolic overtones. The snake for instance is meant to convey the nature of temptation, not that there was literally a talking serpent. And even though God thought within God's mind and desires "let there be light" that's not how God brought into existence light within the universe.
    There's a process involved into manifesting things into existence and Genesis skips through those processes. Rather it just gives you some imagery to ponder on, not to mention it would be very boring and tedious if the creation account was to be articulated in a scientific way, too long to read through. This way even a child could have fun reading it, and the funny thing is...as a child when I read it, it made perfect sense, at least to me.
    The Bible is a spiritual book, that is what its main focus is. To argue over silly things like is it supposed to be literal is to miss the point behind it. Spiritual books are weird that way, they are like those painting you see where it has a scattered design but when you focus in for a minute a very clear image comes out. I forget what they call those, but anyways scripture and figurative language is much the same way, you have to read between the line or notice the underlying message. 

  • ludofl3x
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    --> @EtrnlVw @RoderickSpode
     the main thing would be to use common sense
    VERY often wrong.
     The Bible is literally a mixture of figurative language and literal accounts throughout the entire book it doesn't have to be one or the other it is both

    Right, so you're saying use common sense to tell the difference. Common sense would dictate donkeys don't talk, there wasn't a flood that covered the earth for 40 days, and no one has ever risen from the dead after three days. Rod, do you think I should use common sense?

    it's not going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things as far as beliefs go or whether or not you interpret an account as metaphorical or actual
    Rod, can you get into heaven if you don't believe the Jesus story is an actual fact? If the answer's no, which it is, then it absolutely makes a difference in the grand scheme of things. 

    The Bible literally weaves in and out of figurative and literal. I
    This makes everything in it dubious at best, without a reliable way to tell the difference. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @MisterChris
    Is Genesis Compatible With Science?

    Absolutely, they work in harmony because there are two sperate objectives. You have the idea of creation in Genesis, a picture play meant to invoke imagery and spiritual undertones and then you have science, which lays out in detail how that imagery was manifested. One deals with the concept of creation, the other deals with how creation works through the processes of evolving. In order that the Creator brings things into existence there is a process for that to happen. So Genesis deals more with what God wanted or desired and science deals with more of how God did it.
    In this way they actually go hand in hand, you get the best of both worlds.

  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @ludofl3x
     Common sense would dictate donkeys don't talk, there wasn't a flood that covered the earth for 40 days, and no one has ever risen from the dead after three days. Rod, do you think I should use common sense?

    Yes

     If the answer's no, which it is,

    What do you think, did you understand what I wrote about applicable things or not?

    This makes everything in it dubious at best

    If you say so, I find it fascinating and simplistic. 

  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @ludofl3x
    VERY often wrong.

    We've been over this, but I notice nothing ever sticks with you even if I'm right. You'll just keep repeating the same thing over and over. Actually that's the problem with atheists in general, they can't retain information that is useful and true in regards to Theism and spirituality, as well as spiritual literature and so they never apply it to themselves. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @ludofl3x
    Maybe read what I wrote again, there's lots that you missed. 
  • PressF4Respect
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    --> @MisterChris
    Which Genesis are you talking about, 1 or 2? Because they have completely different creation timelines.
  • ludofl3x
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    We've been over this, but I notice nothing ever sticks with you even if I'm right.
    CAN.
    COMMON SENSE.
    BE.
    WRONG?


  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @ludofl3x
     so you're saying use common sense to tell the difference.

    Why wouldn't you is the question? do you use common sense in other affairs? why not now?
    If you are applying that which is applicable and using common sense when reading spiritual literature where have you failed? who cares what other religious Joe's think or believe? I'm not asking you to think like Roderick, he's not you. He can believe whatever he wants, the question is...is what are you applying, what are you not applying?

    Again, whether or not you "believe" that there was a worldwide flood is immaterial, but there are teachings and principles that you must apply to make spiritual progress. Beliefs and application are two different things, is that not very easy to understand? if I were to teach you how to play the guitar for example it is not going to make any difference whether you believe I can do this or that, or did this or that, what's going to matter is did you practice what I laid out that will make you able to play the guitar. For example, if I told you this incredible story about how I played this amazing unearthly solo at some concert and you  decided to take my word for it what did it do for you as a learner of guitar playing?
    Now, if I were to give you some guitar tabs of scales and cords for you to take home and apply/practice and you actually did them, which of the two examples is relevant to you being a guitar player as you progress?
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @ludofl3x
    CAN.
    COMMON SENSE.
    BE.
    WRONG?

    It wouldn't matter even if you were wrong, because beliefs don't change what you are, it's what you apply to yourself that matters. I tried to show you the distinction between beliefs and application, hopefully you're at least smart enough to get it. 

  • ludofl3x
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    Can common sense be wrong? It's a yes or no. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @ludofl3x
    Let me know when you catch up. 
  • ludofl3x
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    Your lack of a response is pretty telling. The rest is your usual gish gallop. You recognize that common sense can be wrong, and often is, which means that there's no reason to use ONLY common sense as a way to truth. I'm in no way saying the bible or any other holy text is totally devoid of valuable principles. They're just not unique to religious texts, and religious people seem to think they are.