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The argument against literal creation OR How Creation and Evolution can coexist
spielentwickler 
28/6/08 7:36:10 PM
Guru

This is not a trolling attempt. I have merely been discussing this with my housemate, and wish to get my thoughts down somewhere they can be discussed. I will be referring to the New King James Version of the bible for all bible verses, including italicised text.

Ok, so, lets firs start with the literal translation of the bible creation story. We have one group of people who believe creation happened in 7 24 hours day periods, some 10,000 years ago (or was it 7,000, I'm never sure).

I'm going to show why a literal 24 hour day argument falls over itself.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.



The story goes that God was, is and always will be. In the beginning of our universe's existance, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:2
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.



Here comes the first problems with interpreting the story as being literal in the English language. For something to be without form, it cannot have a "deep" or a "face". Let's, for the sake of argument, imagine an earth covered in water, with a surface of solid mass under the waters. The lack of form referring to the lack of land mass above the water level. This is how I learned it. This description takes poetic license on the word "form" however.

Genesis 1:3
Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.



We must assume here that previous to this there was no light sources in our universe. At this point all stars, including our own sun, were either created, or their fusion/fission reactions that allow them to exist as burning objects in void space were started.

Genesis 1:4
And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.



Now light itself implies darkness already exists. Perhaps previously God had created the concept of light, and now put it into practice in our physical world? Perhaps he now created the laws of physics that allowed physical objects to alter the path of light, and in that way separated light from darkness.

(I'm personally of the opinion that whoever wrote this down didn't understand the concept of light and darkness themselves, seeing them as opposing concepts, instead of symbiotic.)

Genesis 1:5
God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.



So here we see God naming both day and night as the presence of light or darkness on the earth. Obviously he defined these names in whatever language god used to verbalise things, and every language on earth has it's own version of words meaning day and night.

Note though that light isn't necessarily representative of day and darkness of night in English. This isn't my argument against a literal translation of the word day, merely another example of the weakness of the english language to be used to define strictly what went on here.

Also note that the two uses of the word day, with two separate meanings are differentiated by calling the light Day, using a capital to imply a proper noun. This is a fair tradeoff to allow english to suffice on a basic level.

In English, a day is a 24 hour period. The daytime is the time when light is present from the sun. You can also say "during the day" to refer to the daytime. So we see that already that two concepts are given the same word, which can lead to ambiguity in a statement.

We also know that for something to be without form in English it is false to allow it to exist in some dimensional space, as for an object to exist it must have form. I've browsed online for different meanings to the word form, and disregarding the meanings such as a piece of paper with fields in which to insert data for processing, in relation to an object in space, form means it has a physical presence (such that it could be seen, or felt), and not having form means not having a physical presence.

Gas, I believe in this meaning, does not have to have form, although denser gas, or gaseous objects perhaps could. In terms of a physical body, covered in water though, this is an object that has form.

As we can see, the translators who applied the english language to the bible, or any modern language with similar roots to our own, must have found the best and most suitable word to present the idea on paper. Suppose they were guided by God, God himself is taking license with these words.

Is it so far a jump to conclude that a day, in the non capitalised sense, could refer to something other than a 24 hour period. Well, of course it can, as days are slowing down over thousands of years as we have measured. But even beyond that, must the days in this story definately match up with a rotation of earth around it's axis?

God is willing to express an earth being covered in water as "without form", so why can't he express a period of the creation process as a "day" without implying what we normally understand a day to be?

Omnipotence relies on definitions regarding logic to some extent. Otherwise you get paradoxes. Logic doesn't rule out poetic license, it does rule out applying the definition of the words "without form" to a body in space.

So, say God is Omnipotent, with omnipotence relying on some sense of basic logic. One way I've seen that expressed is you can't have an irresistible force with an immovable object, and vice versa. Within these very loose bounds, God definately has the power to create the earth and the heavens and the concept of light within a 24 hour period, or even within a period of time that matches one rotation of earth around its axis.

This doesn't mean this is exactly what he did. Within the bounds of logic, he also has the power to do all that in one instance. The whole idea that it should take time at all is already limiting the idea of God as he is supposed to be outside of the bounds of time.

So then, after all this, we come to a point where it seems presumptuous to assume day here DEFINATELY means what we understand one day to be.

Suppose then, that we allow day to be a word used to represent a period of time for one step of the creation process. Suddenly a possible explanation for one part of creation opens up to us.

Evolution being the tool by which God creates life.

According to some strict interpretations of the bible, God micromanaged this process and created every species of every animal to ever exist on earth. Manually and with preciseness.

After that process, he then creates humans in his image (surprisingly, many apes share similar images, were they test runs? :P [this aside was a joke])

What about the idea that God seeds life on his creation that is earth. The origins of life on earth being the first point at which God puts his omnipotent touch on the world. Being timeless, he does indeed in this instant create every form of life to exist. But in our frame of existence, it is only one instant of godly manifestation required. He creates the ground concepts of evolution, and then "seeds" the process, catalyses life's beginnings.

Now "life" on earth exists in two forms, flora and fauna. In the bible God creates both separately, flora first, and then fauna. Both "seedings" of life could definitely have happened at separate times in history. Over times both forms of life have adapted to each other, but they are still very separate forms of life.

(On an aside, God actually created the seasons between flora and fauna. This doesn't necessarily have to have an effect on the adaptation of both animals and plants to the different seasons, this many millions of years later.)

So at this stage, we've had God plant the seed of life for flora, and then the seed of life for fauna. Interestingly, god creates fauna in two separate instances. First the sea creatures, then the land creatures. It is believed by many evolutionary theories (at least from my knowledge) that sea creatures did exist first, and that land creatures evolved from them.

Then, after all this creation, we have a world that God has created. All life having been seeded from 2 or perhaps 3 direct manipulations in our existence, but a timeless forethought for God himself.

Finally, he decides to have one more hand in things. He, in his omnipotence, causes an evolutionary miracle that seeds the first stage of the evolutionary process to create what we know as the genus "homo", resulting in homo sapiens, self aware modern humans.

Let's stop our interpretation here.

If you allow the possibility of a day in the creation story being other than a strict day as we understand it, evolution and creation are not mutually exclusive. Even at my basic study level of evolution, and my understanding of the creation story, I can see the two coexisting.

Personally, I don't necessarily believe the creation story as per the Abrahamic religions. At least, not strictly. I think the stories are fascinating though, especially different interpretations including references to Lillith.

I think that creationists are digging themselves in a whole to demand that the creation story be taken literally, as if you do take it literally, there is already logic problems involved, and logic problems in regards to omnipotence are dangerous concepts.

As soon as you allow a non-strict view of definitions of words used, you suddenly are free to explore the possibility that God himself used science and logic as we understand it as his tools for the creation of our existance.

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http://www.last.fm/user/spielentwickler/
<= knight of the 6fAOEC =>

bluedude 
28/6/08 7:40:11 PM
Guru

Cheque please.

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This was definitely a good idea.

There is no chance that this was not a good idea.

Goth 
28/6/08 7:40:30 PM
SuperHero
Immortal


So, you're saying you can reconcile the bible with actual science as long as you don't take the bible literally? Well, of course you can.

The thing is, though, that there are no "non-literal creationists" - they take the bible literally as the literal truth of the universe, and that's the whole problem.

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Quote by Virtuoso
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spielentwickler 
28/6/08 7:43:02 PM
Guru

Quote by Goth
So, you're saying you can reconcile the bible with actual science as long as you don't take the bible literally? Well, of course you can.

The thing is, though, that there are no "non-literal creationists" - they take the bible literally as the literal truth of the universe, and that's the whole problem.



It's the sad sad truth.

I think the bible can be taken as poetic license on what could possibly be a true history (one that I don't personally believe in).

Hell, what governments these days don't take poetic license on the truth when they need to? :P

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http://www.last.fm/user/spielentwickler/
<= knight of the 6fAOEC =>

Midnighter 
28/6/08 7:58:31 PM
Immortal

Quote by spielentwickler
This is not a trolling attempt. I have merely been discussing this with my housemate, and wish to get my thoughts down somewhere they can be discussed. I will be referring to the New King James Version of the bible for all bible verses, including italicised text.

Ok, so, lets firs start with the literal translation of the bible creation story. We have one group of people who believe creation happened in 7 24 hours day periods, some 10,000 years ago (or was it 7,000, I'm never sure).




Just nit-picking here mate, but it was 6 days. On the 7th, He rested, so the story goes. I just felt like pointing that out. :)

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spielentwickler 
28/6/08 8:49:51 PM
Guru

Quote by Midnighter
Quote by spielentwickler
This is not a trolling attempt. I have merely been discussing this with my housemate, and wish to get my thoughts down somewhere they can be discussed. I will be referring to the New King James Version of the bible for all bible verses, including italicised text.

Ok, so, lets firs start with the literal translation of the bible creation story. We have one group of people who believe creation happened in 7 24 hours day periods, some 10,000 years ago (or was it 7,000, I'm never sure).




Just nit-picking here mate, but it was 6 days. On the 7th, He rested, so the story goes. I just felt like pointing that out. :)



Good Point, perhaps we're still in the 7th day :)

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http://www.last.fm/user/spielentwickler/
<= knight of the 6fAOEC =>

Director 
10/9/08 7:40:58 AM
Hero
Immortal


The 7th day is the day of sabbath (or rest), and Christ IS the Sabbath.

But, hey, great post you've obviously put a lot of thought into it. I'm not going to call right or wrong here cos TBH in terms of timing there's so much evidence on both sides of the coin that I can't make a decision either way. ;-)

I'll just make 2 observations though. First is your theory on the length of a 'day'. Yes the english language (being a language of commerce) is pretty crappy for describing/conversing in spiritual matters so the interpretation of the word 'day' in Hebrew has long been a cause for debate amongst the experts. In your post you mentioned periods of light and dark as being the 'days' and that those periods could be of an arbitrary time span, well maybe. There is also information in the texts that you may not have taken into consideration. For e.g. on each of the days of creation the activity for the day is concluded with "And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day etc." So now we have 2 clues in terms of time periods, the first being the 'day' that you mentioned and the second being that each 'day' featured a morning and an evening. Now OK, maybe if the Earth was rotating at a different speed you might get longer periods of time, but if what you said about the length of days actually getting shorter, then logically they must have actually been quicker in the past. ;-)

The second point is just to address the idea that God used evolution to accomplish his purposes. Well, once again, maybe, but see trying to reconcile God to Darwinian theories has never been the thing that stumps me. My problem is that I have never seen any evidence to convince me that transmutation of species has ever occurred in the first place. So it's not like here is this observed thing that contradicts the Biblical account, it's that there is this unproven theory that contradicts another theory which seems to describe the reality of the situation much more accurately.

Anyway, great post. ;-)

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A challenge to a perceived consensus is a challenge to all the powers in human society, as it can take a person’s understanding of the world we live in, and flip it upside down.

Girvo 
10/9/08 7:46:16 AM
Immortal

Nice bump D :P

I do not take the creation story literally. But I do believe a higher being, "God", created the universe as we know it. The person who "flicked the switch" on it, if you will.

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Charcoal 
10/9/08 8:00:42 AM
Hero
Immortal


http://wttf.org/2008/09/09/cant-we-all-just-evolve/ ?

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